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Pulled over for speeding? It may be the car you're driving

October 15, 2010 |  4:03 am

Mercedez

Are you a traffic ticket magnet?

If you drive a Mercedes-Benz SL Class convertible or a Toyota Camry-Solara Coupe or a Scion TC, don’t be surprised to find yourself squarely in the sights of a police officer’s radar gun.

Certain cars — or is it their drivers? — seem to attract the attention of law enforcement officials, according to a study by Quality Planning, a San Francisco firm that verifies policyholder information for auto insurers.

The company looked at the propensity of various vehicle makes to attract tickets based on the number of moving violations per 100,000 miles driven. Not surprisingly, it found that drivers of stylish “spirited”-looking vehicles and the outsized Hummer H2/H3 were the most likely to be cited by law enforcement officials.

Drivers of the Mercedes-Benz SL Class roadster were 4.04 times as likely to get a ticket as the average for drivers of all vehicles. Camry-Solara drivers were second at 3.49 times as likely to be cited, followed by Scion TC drivers at 3.43 times. Hummers came in fourth at 2.92 times as likely to get a ticket, and the Scion xB was fifth at 2.70 times.

Quality Planning surmises that the propensity to get cited for a violation is linked to how one drives, and that’s expressed in the autos people choose. Ticket magnets were likely to be sporty cars while the vehicles least likely to get cited tended to be sport utility vehicles and minivans.

The Buick Rainier SUV was the least likely vehicle to get a ticket at .23 times the rate of the average auto. It also had the oldest drivers, with an average age of 61. The Mazda Tribute and the Chevrolet C/K pickup truck were tied for second, followed by the Kia Spectra sedan and the Buick LaCrosse sedan.

It’s not clear how the ages of the drivers influences the statistics. The Rainier had the oldest drivers, but the Mazda Tribute, which was just barely behind the Ranier in the least-ticketed rankings, had the second-youngest drivers among the most- and least-ticketed models -– an average of 36.

When it came to traffic laws, a separate study by Quality Planning found that women are less likely than men to break them. It also found that men are more likely to violate laws designed to safeguard people and property. Men, for example, are cited for reckless driving 3.41 times more than women.

--Jerry Hirsch

Photo: Drivers of Mercedes-Benz SL roadsters like this one are more likely to get a traffic ticket, according to the study. Credit: Carlos Chavez/Los Angeles Times.


Photos: Is your car a ticket magnet?

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