A recent study from Insurance.com found that owners of the Subaru WRX were the most likely people in the US to be ticketed for traffic infractions, with 33.6 percent of them receiving a citation in the last three years. Coming in a close second and third were drivers of the Pontiac GTO at 32.7 percent and the Scion FR-S at 32.6 percent. At first glance, this report looks like just a mildly interesting anecdote to tell your friends during a lull in conversation, but there seems to be a serious problem with the methodology here that might be blowing these numbers way out of proportion.
Insurance.com explains that it based the study on 557,238 drivers who requested online insurance quotes from its service from January 1, 2013 to July 2014. To make it onto the list, a vehicle needed over 50 quotes, and in the end that left 526 models.
However, these facts are almost useless because the list isn't based on percentages from the whole pool. The study's ranking comes from owners of specific vehicles, and these numbers aren't mentioned anywhere in the company's press release. All we know about the sample size for each model is that it's higher than 50. Assuming that amount for the WRX means it would only take about 17 people with tickets using the site to put the sporty car in first place.
These unknown model sample sizes might explain some of the extremely odd entries on the list. For example, the long-discontinued Mercury Topaz is in seventh place with 28.8 percent of its drivers receiving tickets. The GTO and Toyota Supra are also in the top ten and out of production. Just a few people searching for these vehicles could be the reason for these strange results.
Obviously automotive studies have their place, but this one just appears to have gotten confused along the way. Scroll down to read the report to see what we mean.