A new study published by the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) examines the relationship between a vehicle’s age and occupant injury severity in a fatal crash.

Analyzing data from the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) 2012 to 2016, the study shows that the percentage of occupants fatally injured increases as vehicle age increases: from 27 percent for vehicles zero to three years old up to 50 percent for vehicles aged 18+ years.

Looking at fatal crashes involving passenger cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks, the data shows that a greater proportion of deaths among passengers in fatal crashes occurs within older model year vehicles, compared to new model year vehicles. As vehicle safety improvements become more widespread, this trend is expected to continue.

“We encourage car buyers to select vehicles that meet their individual lifestyle, budget and transportation needs with the added assurance that they are making an investment in safety,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King.

To help educate consumers, NHTSA has created a pocket shopping guide to make today’s driver assistance technologies easy to understand for all drivers.