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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Oct 18, 2010

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

The Mercedes-Benz SL Convertible tops the traffic violation list (Harvey Schwartz photo)

LA CAR & HOT WIRE—That, of course, is the $64,000 question. In its study of vehicle types, their driver profiles, and the frequency of traffic violations, auto insurance analytics firm Quality Planning flies in the face of conventional wisdom that high-performance cars attract the most tickets. Quality Planning (QPC), a Verisk Analytics company that validates policyholder information for auto insurers, has released updated findings from its original study that explores the relationship between the cars people drive and how people drive them. The study examines various vehicle makes and models and quantifies the propensity of each to be ticketed by law enforcement based on the number of moving violations per 100,000 miles driven. The study found that the origins of vehicles in the “Spirited Vehicles” category were predominantly those of foreign manufacturers but not necessarily of German or Italian heritage. Drivers of the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class roadster topped the list, with four times the number of violations compared with the average. But, not surprisingly, the car Toyota designed expressly for Gen ‘Y’ers, the Scion, had not one but two entries in the top ten. The big Hummers and the Pontiac Grand Prix rounded out this category. Consistent with the findings of last year’s study, SUVs and hatchbacks showed lower violations on average than traditional two- and four-door vehicles. “Spirited Vehicles” (vehicles with highest percentage of violations) Make, Model, Body Style, Violations*, Average Age, Percentage Male Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Convertible 404% 53 41% Toyota Camry-Solara Coupe 349% 50 39% Scion TC Coupe 343% 30 39% Hummer H2/H3 SUV 292% 46 73% Scion XB Hatchback 270% 37 40% Mercedes-Benz CLS-63 AMG Sedan 264% 46 58% Acura Integra Coupe 185% 33 60% Pontiac Grand Prix Sedan 182% 40 41% Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG Sedan 179% 47 44% Volkswagen GTI Hatchback 178% 40 44% Violations/100,000 miles driven, expressed as percentage of average. Looking at the gender breakdown, 73 percent of Hummers tended to be driven by men, generally between 30 and 60 years old. Also of interest, only the Mercedes CLS sedan and the Acura Integra coupe were more likely to be driven by men than women. Conversely, Camry-Solara drivers were 61 percent female, with only 26 percent younger than 30. Those vehicles that Quality Planning classified as “Cautious Vehicles” offered an interesting contrast. With respect to body type, eight of the top ten were either an SUV or minivan. This suggests that carrying passengers, and possibly younger passengers in car seats, makes a noticeable difference in how one drives. Interestingly, 60 percent of SUV drivers in this category were women, whereas for minivans, 51 percent of these drivers were women. In two instances — the Oldsmobile Silhouette and the Buick LaCrosse — the drivers were split 50/50 across gender but differed dramatically in age, with Buick showing 81 percent of ticketed drivers over 60 years old compared with just 8 percent of Silhouette drivers.

2007 Buick Rainier CXL
The discontinued Buick Rainer ranks as the most cautious vehicle of them all

“Cautious Vehicles” (vehicles with lowest percentage of violations) Make, Model, Body Style, Violations*, Average Age, Percentage Male Buick Rainier SUV 23% 61 71% Mazda Tribute SUV 26% 36 29% Chevrolet C/K- 3500/2500 Pickup 26% 40 86% Kia Spectra Sedan 27% 40 44% Buick Lacrosse SUV 32% 65 50% Saturn Aura Hybrid Sedan 37% 59 14% Oldsmobile Silhouette Minivan 37% 41 50% Chevrolet Uplander Minivan 38% 40 54% Hyundai Tucson SUV 38% 47 40% Pontiac Vibe SUV 39% 41 32% *Violations/100,000 miles driven, expressed as percentage of average. “These findings and the corresponding trends they reveal are very interesting,” said Bob U’Ren, senior vice president of Quality Planning. “Besides the sociological aspect of ‘who drives what,’ the manner in which private passenger cars and trucks are driven has a meaningful bearing on how much individuals and families pay for auto insurance.” Study Methodology Traffic code violations data for a one-year period from February 2009 through February 2010 were used for the study. Vehicles that were discontinued for more than ten years were not included in the analysis. Violations were then standardized based on the number of violations per 100,000 miles driven for each model. That standardization accounts for the differences in average annual miles driven by different models. Then, each vehicle model’s violation count per 100,000 miles was compared with the average across all the models to identify the 25 models with the highest and lowest violations. About Quality Planning A Verisk Analytics company, Quality Planning is focused on providing rating integrity solutions to auto and home insurers. Quality Planning works with insurance companies to identify areas of significant rating error using sophisticated database management, statistical analysis and modeling, customized survey design, and highly targeted customer interaction. Quality Planning helps clients work within their existing rating plans and charge fair prices to policyholders based on a true representation of risk. The company was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in San Francisco. For more information, visit

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