Many of us have heard that driving a red car will make you more likely to get pulled over by the police. The reasons given include the idea that red is a more eye-catching color than grey or white, which will make the police take a second look to see if you are speeding, have a broken tail light, or may be crossing over the median. However, is there any scientific evidence that the police are more likely to pull you over based on the color of your car?
Information for an infographic was compiled from data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, among others, to compare the rates of tickets based on the color and type of vehicle. Based on those rates, while 14% of the cars sampled were red, they accounted for 16% of the tickets, slightly higher than their representation. White cars made up 25% of the sample, but only got 19% of the traffic citations. However, based on these numbers alone, gray cars were the most overrepresented, making up 6% of the sample size, while getting 10% of the tickets. If this is representative, driving a gray vehicle would make your more likely to be pulled over.
Snopes.com is a website that breaks down rumors, urban myths, and fact-checks suspicious claims. The site has addressed the car color and traffic ticket correlation, coming to the conclusion that the claim is a myth. They identified the lack of higher insurance rates based on car color, police claims that color make no difference, and a small, unofficial survey done by a news reporter in Florida. Together this adds up to a conclusion that the connection is false.
The website howstuffworks.com came to a similar conclusion. They looked at a sample size of cars with tickets, based on color alone (not accounting for the percentage of cars of a certain color), and determined that the car color with the most tickets was for white vehicles, at 19% with red vehicles getting 16% of tickets. They also noted that insurance companies ask about a vehicle's make, model, engine type and year, while failing to concern themselves with the car's color.
While car color may have a very weak link to the likelihood of getting a ticket, the make and model of the car does appear to have a correlation. According to Forbes, male drivers behind the wheel of a Hummer H2 were three times more likely to get a ticket than the average driver. Similarly, men who drive a Volkswagen GTI, or a Mercedes AMG were twice as likely to get ticketed compared to an average driver. However, it is unclear whether it was the car that garnered the attention of police, or whether it is the type of driving people do behind the wheel of these cars that leads to the violations. 8 of the 10 cars least likely to lead to to a ticket are SUVs and minivans.
At Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people facing DUI, motor vehicle and other criminal charges in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands the law, and will make sure you get the justice you deserve. If you are facing a vehicle or criminal charges, contact the local East Bay criminal defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.