Is It the Car or the Way You Drive That Draws Speeding Tickets?

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Or is it the impression that cops have about the people who own certain kinds of cars? Regardless, if you’re driving a Hummer or a Mercedes SL, you’re far more likely to be pulled over than the average driver. Then again, if you’ve been riding around in such a conspicuous and expensive vehicle, you probably want to be noticed—and that includes getting the attention of the police. And if you can afford such a car, you can probably also afford the occasional traffic ticket.

Citing data rounded up for the sake of car insurers, the WSJ lists the vehicles that have proved to be magnets for tickets. Three high horsepower Mercedes are in the top ten, as are two Hummers. Common sense says that the people who buy these sorts of cars are also operate on the road under the “drive fast, take chances” style, as a friend of mine likes to say. Researchers didn’t want to get into the psychology of drivers or the police, but here’s how the WSJ weighs in on the issue:

… this list of ticket magnets suggests that high-performance cars—or vehicles that cultivate a brash image such as the Hummer—attract drivers who enjoy driving fast, or pushing the envelope in other ways.

Whether drivers speed and drive recklessly in these vehicles or not, police officers are human, and after seeing the same vehicles speeding again and again, it’d be natural pay closer attention when those cars zip past. Also, in the case of Hummers, they’re so big and conspicuous that it’s hard not to pay attention to them.

The WSJ story also mentions some other research that could be filed under the category of Stuff Drivers Intuitively Know. One study revealed data showing that out-of-town drivers pulled over for speeding were more likely to receive tickets than locals. Also, there’s a stereotype that holds police officers are less likely to give tickets to young female drivers. Apparently, there’s research to back this theory up:

It helps a lot, however, to be a young woman, says one of the economists, Thomas Stratmann. Younger women were nearly 33% less likely to get a ticket than men, according to the data the researchers sampled.

It is unclear if the research factored in whether the drivers batted their eyes or wore low-cut tops.

Read more:
How to Get Out of a Speeding Ticket: Wear a Monkey Mask
Fewer Police Warnings, More Speeding Tickets, and Other Ways the Economy Affects How We Work, Shop, and Live