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Can you really blame your car for your ticket?

"Don't buy a red car, they get more tickets!"

"Stay away from convertibles- the cops will be all over you."

"Luxury cars say, "Give me a ticket- I can afford it."

The world is full of advice about what to drive if you don't want to stockpile traffic citations. It seems logical- if a Corvette in the lane next to me and I are traveling at the same speed, he is more likely to get noticed than my Festiva (no laughing) since I blend into the background and the Corvette stands out. But is there really a big difference in the frequency of traffic citations between different car models?

The auto insurance analytic firm Quality Planning crunched the numbers on a year's worth of citations, and the answer is a resounding "yes". Their study was based on the number of moving violations per 100,000 miles driven. The results were interesting, and a little surprising.

Does driving a flashy car mean more tickets?

Quality Planning list the cars, the moving violation rate as a percentage of average, the average age of vehicle owners, and the percentage that are male. The study quickly dispels with the myth that young men are traffic scofflaws. Of the top-ten vehicles on the list, only three were more likely to be driven by men (Hummer H2/H3, Acura Integra, and Mercedes-Benz CLS 63AMG sedan) and only three had an average owner age of under 40 (Scion tC coupe, Scion Xb Hatchback, and Acura Integra).

The list is broken down into "spirited" vehicles, which tend to me more powerful and offer sportier styling and characteristics, and "cautious" vehicles, predominately minivans and SUVs. The violation rate is the percentage of average, so the SL-Class gets ticketed at a rate four times higher than average!

The top-ten Spirited vehicles, or those most likely to get stopped for a moving violation, are:

Make

Model

Body Style

Violation Rate

Average Age

% Male

Mercedes-Benz

SL-Class

Convertible

404%

53

41%

Toyota

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%

If you are looking to avoid a ticket, here are the top-ten cars to fly under the radar, so to speak:

Make

Model

Body Style

Violation Rate

Average Age

% Male

Buick

Rainier

SUV

23%

61

71%

Mazda

Tribute

SUV

26%

36

29%

Chevrolet

C/K 2500/3500

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

Hatchback

39%

41

32%

The study is an interesting read, and leaves us with the question: Is it the car or the driver that's responsible for those tickets? It takes a certain type of driver to buy a spirited car, given that they are a little flashy and a little extroverted, whereas there is nothing extroverted about an Oldsmobile Silhouette. In the end, you can't blame your car for your citations - the blame rests firmly on the driver.

See average annual insurance rates for more than 2,000 vehicles

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