Which Cars Get Pulled Over the Most?

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If you drive a Mercedes-Benz SL Class, chances are you’re pretty wealthy. Which is good, because you’re four times more likely than the average driver to get stuck with a speeding ticket.

It may sound unfair, but that’s the finding of a newly updated study by Quality Planning, a San Francisco-based company that provides tools and services to auto insurers. The study explored how the car you drive affects your driving habits, as measured by a driver’s likelihood of being ticketed.

Topping the list was the Mercedes-Benz SL Class, a luxury sports car that sells for upwards of $100,000. Also cracking the top 10 “Spirited Vehicles” were the Hummer H2 and H3, which together were nearly three times more likely to get a moving violation. (Both models have been discontinued, along with the rest of the Hummer brand.)

The study also gathered data on the age and gender of drivers, though it found no clear patterns in the data. Drivers of the top-ranking SL Class tended to be on the older side, with an average age of 53; by comparison, drivers of the Scion TC, which ranked third on the list with 343% as many moving violations as the average driver, were on average 30-years-old.

In general, the drivers of the top 10 also skewed female – only the Hummer had more male than female drivers – though the data does not break down the actual violations by gender.

So why do drivers of these cars tend to drive so fast?

One explanation is that they don’t. The study only shows how likely you are to be pulled over, which could be as much an indication of bias on the part of law enforcement as the proclivities of the drivers. But the eclectic mix of cars – luxury sports cars, sensible sedans, and reasonably-priced hatchbacks – casts doubt on the theory that, for instance, traffic cops make a point of targeting expensive cars.

Still, the study’s authors offer no real explanations for why older Mercedes owners and younger Scion owners are driving so fast. They do, however, note that many of those they dub “cautious vehicles” (those showing the lowest rate of ticketing) were SUVs and minivans.

“This suggests that carrying passengers, and possibly younger passengers in car seats, makes a noticeable difference in how one drives,” the study’s authors observe.

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