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I assume it has a lot to do with the stall characteristics, but with the SR20/22 having a combined 1.6/100,000 Fatal rate and the DA40 having .35/100,000 Fatal, it seems like a very stark difference. Additionally, the SR-- has a ballistic parachute and the DA40 does not.

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Although they are new designs you aren't comparing like for like. The SR22 is a higher performance aircraft with 310hp as opposed to 180hp, and it has a longer range. It has more capability, which means it will be used differently. –  GdD Sep 1 at 8:27

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Compared to other 180 hp airplanes the DA40 handles strong cross-winds better. It also has good visibility because the canopy bow is so far aft.

http://philip.greenspun.com/flying/diamond-da40

In defense of the SR20 what can be said is that the SR20 has a split-airfoil wing design that guarantees the wings will stall near the fuselage first, leaving the outer wings and ailerons unstalled. The result is very controllable performance right up to and including the stall.

http://philip.greenspun.com/flying/plastic-airplanes

That being said, a majority of accidents involving the DA40,SR20/22 or any 4-seat GA airplanes is almost always caused by Pilot error. So , it is not about the DA40 being more safe than the SR20. Splitting high and low fleet hours may result in too high a number. Ergo, the math is not precise.

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Not sure how true it is, but one theory I've heard about the high accident rate of the SR22 is the parachute. Every added safety feature tends to make people more careless. Was the same when airbags were first introduced in cars, accident rates shot up for a while before slowly trending down again.
Also, the DA40 is used more often as a trainer, while the SR22 is more often used by relatively inexperienced pilots who do have a license. Might well make a difference (student pilots tend to be more aware of the limits of their skill and knowledge than cocky fresh graduates who think that now that they are certified to know it all they really do know it all). And often that student will have an experienced instructor in the cockpit with him as well.

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Also known as risk compensation/the Peltzman effect: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_compensation –  John Wiseman Sep 3 at 13:43

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