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Chevrolet dominates 2012 safest small cars list

Advanced design, safety features more stringent seatbelt and DUI laws have resulted decreased traffic fatalities in recent years. But nearly 33,000 people died in traffic accident in the United States in 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The NHTSA further details the yearly death vehicular accidents mean a fatality occurs once every 16 minutes and that vehicle collisions remain the leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of three and 34.

As such, with an increase in the purchase of small cars because of better fuel efficiency, safety or lack of safety are omnipresent in small cars. And the begs the question: What are the safety small cars.

Forbes.com has compiled a list of the safest 2012 small cars.

Chevrolet dominates 2012 safest small cars list 1

The top-10 list was compile using the Top Safety Picks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)31 mid-priced and luxury small cars.

To qualify, a car must garner top scores across the board for performance in front, side, rollover, and rear-end crashes based on ratings determined by the IIHS’ evaluations. Vehicles are rated in each category on a basis of "good," "acceptable," "marginal" or "poor" performance. Forbes.com editors then reduced the field to 10 models that offer the most safety features to both help protect their occupants in a crash and help their drivers steer clear of collisions in the first place.

Here's the list of the 10 safety small cars in the United States, according to the combined research of the IIHS and Forbes.com

Audi A3, Buick Verano, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Sonic, Chevrolet Volt, Lexus CT 200h, Mazda3, Scion tC, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Prius.

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