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Autos: Hummers are traffic ticket magnets

Los Angeles Times

If you like getting tickets, consider a Hummer SUV or Scion tC coupe when making your next vehicle purchase. • Quality Planning, a San Francisco company that validates policyholder information for auto insurers, studied moving violations given to drivers of various vehicle models in the United States between August 2007 and September 2008. The company ranked models based on how far above or below they were to the national average in terms of violations. (The average across all models was 0.23 violations per 100,000 miles driven.)

According to the study, drivers of the Hummer H2 and H3, with 1.07 tickets per 100,000 miles, were 4.63 times more likely to get a ticket than the average driver. The sporty tC came in a close second at 4.60 times the average.

Based on the study, "ticketability" appears to be related mainly to one or more of these factors: size, speed and driver age.

Take the high-riding Hummer, one of the biggest "light" vehicles on the road. "The sense of power that Hummer drivers derive from their vehicle may be directly correlated with the number of violations they incur," Quality Planning president Raj Bhat said. "Or perhaps Hummer drivers, by virtue of their driving position, are less likely to notice road hazards, signs, pedestrians and other drivers."

Also making the top 10 were two of the more powerful production cars on the road: the Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG and CLS63 AMG, both of which produce about 500 horsepower. Four youth-oriented cars from Toyota — the aforementioned Scion tC, the Scion xA and xB and the Matrix — were all in the top rankings. Less obviously, the Audi A4, a sleek but hardly super-powered upscale sedan, and the Subaru Outback station wagon also made the top 10.

What to drive if you're down to the last couple of points on your license? The Jaguar XJ topped Quality Planning's list of the "best-behaved" vehicles. Drivers were one-tenth as likely to get a ticket as the average driver.

Vehicles that appeal to older drivers, like the Buick Park Avenue, and family vehicles, like the Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan and the Chevy Suburban SUV, also were among least-ticketed vehicles.

Autos: Hummers are traffic ticket magnets 02/12/09 [Last modified: Thursday, February 12, 2009 3:30am]
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