Quality Planning has just released its findings on which vehicles are more likely to snag their drivers a speeding ticket and who's likely to be behind the wheel when the blue lights come on. Surprisingly enough, the auto insurance analyst's list isn't dominated by hot-blooded young men with high-powered sports cars. Instead, the study found that of the top 10 vehicles most likely to be ticketed, each carried an average driver age of over 30 years old with the fair majority falling over the 40-year-old mark. Even more surprising, on average, seven of the top 10 vehicles were more likely to be ticketed with a female driver behind the wheel.

So which vehicles took the top honors? The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class took the gold as the most ticketed vehicle, walking away with four times more tickets than the national average. In second place, the Toyota Camry Solara came in with 3.5 times the national average. Interestingly enough, Scion walked away with two spots in the top five, with the tC taking number three and the xB snagging the fifth spot. That mark was only bested by the Silver Arrow, which took three spots in the top 10. Hit the jump for a look at the full press release, but only after checking out our gallery of the unlikely offenders below.

  • Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • Toyota Camry-Solara
  • Scion tC
  • Hummer H3
  • Scion xB
  • Mercedes-Benz CLS-63 AMG
  • Acura Integra
  • Pontiac Grand Prix
  • Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI

[Source: Quality Planning | Main image: Corbis/Getty]

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Auto Insurance Analysis: Does What We Drive Affect How We Drive?

In its second annual study of vehicle types, their driver profiles, and the frequency of traffic violations, auto insurance analytics firm Quality Planning debunks conventional wisdom that high-performance cars attract the most tickets.

SAN FRANCISCO, October 12, 2010: Quality Planning (QPC), a Verisk Analytics company that validates policyholder information for auto insurers, has released updated findings from its original study, published in 2009, that explored the relationship between the cars people drive and how people drive them. Newly expanded to include available statistics, 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.

Quality Planning 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.

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%

Violations/100,000 miles driven, expressed as percentage of average.

For a complete list, see below.

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 minivan and the Buick LaCrosse SUV - 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.

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, 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.

For a complete list, see below.

"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.

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