Late-model convertibles are no riskier than non-convertibles, according to the analysis of crash and fatality rates by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
“These findings don’t suggest that convertibles offer better protection for their occupants than other cars, but they do indicate there’s no statistical basis for concerns that the lack of a permanent roof makes them more dangerous,” said Eric Teoh, IIHS Director of Statistical Services, who wrote the paper.
Teoh compared the rates of driver deaths and police-reported crashes per miles traveled for convertible and non-convertible versions of 1-5-year-old models during 2014-18. He also compared the circumstances and driver behaviors associated with the fatal crashes, looking at factors like point of impact and whether the driver was ejected from the vehicle, as well as impairment and seat belt use.
Teoh found that convertibles were involved in six percent fewer police-reported crashes per miles traveled than their conventional counterparts. Driver death rates were 11 percent lower. However, the likelihood that the driver was ejected from the vehicle in the event of a fatal crash was higher for convertibles than conventional versions.
“Based on this study, convertibles don’t appear to pose a particular safety risk,” Teoh said. “If you’re shopping for a convertible, you should consider crash test ratings and safety features, just as you would if you were shopping for any other car.”