- Mercedes-Benz SL-class
- Toyota Camry Solara
- Scion TC
- Hummer H2/H3
- Scion XB
- Mercedes-Benz CLS-63 AMG
- Acura Integra
- Pontiac Grand Prix
- Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG
- Volkswagen GTI
The Data Behind the List
Not only do these cars rack up more tickets, they rack up a lot more tickets. The driver of the #1 car on this list, the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, a convertible, was more than 4 times as likely to be issued a ticket than the standard car on the road.
The driver of the #2 car, the Toyota Camry Solara, a coupe, was almost as ticket-prone: they were more than 3.5 times likely to be pulled over. And #3 was not far behind; they got tickets 3.4 times more than Joe or Josephine Average Car.
It is not until you hit the #4 car on the list, the Hummer SUV, that the driver is only (only) 2.9 times more likely to receive a ticket for rolling magisterially down the road. And #5, the Scion XB? 2.7 times more likely.
These data were crunched by a firm that analyzes data for the insurance industry. They toted up how many tickets each car on the road in the U.S. got per 100,000 miles driven. They then figured out which vehicles had the highest number of tickets.
Color Makes Little Difference—And Red Isn’t Frequently Ticketed
So these results come with a lot of data backing them. For one thing, they knock several enduring myths out of the box. The first is that color matters. Do red cars get more tickets? No. They account for 16% of tickets and 14% of cars on the road, and those percentages are pretty equally matched.
The color most often pulled over? Good old solid gray. They constitute 6% of cars total, but get 10% of tickets.
The safest colors? White, which account for 25% of the total car population, receive 19% of the tickets, less than they should if all was proportional. Silver, which hits 10% of total cars on the road, were issued just 5% of all tickets. The theory is, the police may not notice white or silver cars as much.
Younger Men Don’t Get More Tickets
The data also show that the common perception that young men get more tickets than other Americans is a misperception. The top ticketed cars were often driven by more women than men—and middle age was frequent among the winners of the most-ticketed sweepstakes.
Take, for example, the #1 Mercedes. Those drivers are 41% men and nearly 60% female, and the average age of both genders is 53. The #2 Camry Solara is driven by 38% men and 62% women, and the average age is 50.
The #3 car, the Scion TC, does swing younger—the average age is 30—but again, far more women than men drive it, at 39% versus 61%. And the Hummer? It’s the only one of the top 5 with significantly more men, at 73%. Women drive just 27% of Hummers, and the average age of all its drivers is 46. The Scion xB gender breakdown is 40%/60%, with more women, and the average age is 37.
Officials believe that people who like more powerful cars, of both genders, are likely to exert control—and may push speeds and traffic regulations as a result. The rise in women reflects the rise in women being more in control in life generally.
It’s Safe Driving That Matters
Perhaps the most trenchant phrase that matters is this one from insurance.com: “it’s the driver, not the car, who creates dangerous situations – and receives tickets.” The frequency of ticketing reflects the behavior of their drivers. People who want to hear their Mercedes purr or their Hummer roar are acting in ways that cause them to be pulled over—speeding or ignoring traffic conditions or running lights.
The corollary? Drivers who pay attention to speed limit, drive safely according to traffic conditions, and follow traffic rules and regulations are going to be okay—no matter what car they drive.