Does What You Drive Affect How You Drive?

By Colin Bird  on October 15, 2010

https://www.cstatic-images.com/stock/765x765/1/-1435599553-1425510135201. When you think of the people who speed, turn without signaling, roll through stops or weave through traffic, what are they typically driving? If a Mercedes, Pontiac or Scion popped into your thought bubble, you now have data to back up your prejudice.

Quality Planning, a consultancy firm that validates automotive policyholder information for auto insurers, has just published a report that explores the relationship between the cars people buy and their driving habits.

The study uses a year’s worth of traffic code violations (from February 2009 to February 2010) for each make/model on U.S. roads and then standardizes the data per 100,000 miles driven.

The study shows that Mercedes-Benz SL-Class roadster owners are the worst offenders, getting four times as many moving violations compared to the norm. That doesn’t sound surprising in the least considering the SL is a sleek, sporty two-door. However, there are three cars made by Toyota – Camry Solara, Scion TC and Scion xB – on the top 10 list of worst offenders, which is interesting since Toyota Motors isn’t thought of as an “ultimate-driving-machine” carmaker. Surprisingly, there isn’t a BMW among the top 10 offenders.

Why are these vehicles involved in more violations than others? It’s possible that law enforcement has a bias toward people who drive these cars, or, most likely, there is a correlation between the personality of someone who buys a Scion tC or Acura Integra, for example, and playing fast and loose with the law. Don’t blame males or youth, either. The average driver’s age of the offending vehicles range from 30 to 50 years old, and most of the top offending make/models were predominantly owned by women, not men.

As for the drivers who exhibit cautious driving characteristics, including getting fewer traffic tickets than the norm, they drive cars like the Oldsmobile Silhouette and Kia Spectra. Overall, we see more family haulers on the slow-, I mean, safe-driver list and an older average age.

Check out the full chart below and tell us which car is a typical offender in your neck of the woods?

Table 1: “Spirited Vehicles” (vehicles with highest percentage of violations)

Make

Model

Body Style

Violations

Average Age

% 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%

Table 2: “Cautious Vehicles” (vehicles with lowest percentage of violations)

Make

Model

Body Style

Violations

Average Age

% 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

Sedan

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%

Information provided by Quality Planning



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