It’s Not a Myth: Certain Colors and Makes Get Pulled Over More Often

Take a hard look at what you drive. Does your car seem like the type that would get pulled over easily? Is it a sports car or an SUV? What color is it? You wouldn’t think that these things necessarily matter when it comes to getting stopped. Unfortunately, according to a recent study, they just might.

Take a look at the information below—it might surprise you!

Does the Color Really Matter?

Does having a flashy colored car mean you’ll get pulled over more? Some studies show that things are a bit different than you’d expect. Urban legend says that red is the color that gets pulled over more often, but red actually came in second place in this study. The top color is white, with gray and silver coming in third and fourth place, respectively.

It seems like flashy-colored cars don’t get pulled over as often as we think. But what about the model?

Does the Model Matter?

Let the data speak for itself—the top three models that got pulled over the most were the Mercedes-Benz SL class, the Toyota Camry Solara, and the Scion tC. Each was between 300 and 400 percent more likely to get a ticket than any other car.

By contrast, the cars that were least ticketed were the Jaguar XJ, the Chevy Suburban, and the Buick Park Avenue. Each were around 90 percent less likely to get a ticket than the rest of the cars surveyed.

Interestingly enough, the top cars were more sporty models, such as coupes and cars designed for the “younger generations.” In contrast, the lower cars appeared to be more family-friendly sedans and SUVs.

Another report nearly echoed this data, and included minivans in the cars that were least likely to get pulled over. In this report, Scion and Mercedes models appeared on the “most-likely” list multiple times. Most cars on this list were sporty sedans as well, including the Acura Integra and Pontiac Grand Prix. The Hummer H2 was strangely ranked fourth, under the tC.

Will You Get Ticketed?

It’s inevitable that you’ll probably receive a speeding ticket sometime in your life. But as the data show, some colors and models get pulled over more than others. Other contributing factors include driver gender and age, as well as speed.

Males are more likely to get pulled over, topping females by about 30 percentage points. The typical millennial ages of 19-21 received over 70,000 tickets, with age 20 receiving the most, with 80,000 tickets. From a speeding range of 9 to 16 mph, 15 miles over the limit is the speed at which most people are caught—and by a wide margin.

Police Look for Certain Things

If you ever thought that police have bias towards certain cars, you’re half right. Police keep an eye out for certain features, but all of them have to do with aggressive driving or simply not following the rules. If you were hoping for an excuse to drive however you like, it won’t necessarily cut it when you read this list.

Edmunds surveyed three police departments and two traffic agencies, and they reported five ways to get pulled over easily:

  1. Speeding
  2. Distracted driving/using a cell phone behind the wheel
  3. Hazardous driving, such as running stop signs, illegal U-turns and failure to yield
  4. Equipment violations, such as tinted windows, expired tags and loud exhaust
  5. Tailgating and improper lane changes

Know Where You Stand

It seems ridiculous that police favor certain colors, makes and attitudes of drivers. What you do with this information, however, is up to you. Be cautious if you decide to take a stand against this subtle issue.

Scott Huntington writes about and drives cars around the Harrisburg area and has been featured on Yahoo Autos, Business Insider, and more. Check out his site Off The Throttle and follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.

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11 Responses to “It’s Not a Myth: Certain Colors and Makes Get Pulled Over More Often”

  1. Nicolas says:

    This doesn’t tell anything useful without data showing the percentage of the time that drivers of higher-risk cars disobey traffic laws. Maybe the cars at the top of the list are stopped at a rate lower than they merit, or maybe higher. Are white and red cars pulled over disproportionately to the percentage of those cars among all on the road?

  2. t.j. says:

    I can attest to this. A few years ago I became the soccer-dad driving the classic mom-bomb, a Sienna in ‘desert sand mica’, a.k.a. tan. No matter how fast I flew down the highways, passing sports cars of every type, I never got pulled over in it. It was like it was invisible to the police, it looked so innocuous.
    You know how some sexy cars look like they’re going fast when they’re standing still? The opposite is true, as well.
    Bonus: Low insurance rates. 🙂

  3. Jake says:

    Where’s the research backing these claims?

  4. arsh says:

    This is all true. I’ve been pulled over exactly 3 times in my life. 1st I was speeding like a dummy, in a red car in HS and got a ticket. Second time I still had said stupid red car and was going 5mph with a car riding my bumper, yet i was the one who got pulled over and got a ticket. The third time, also said red car, got pulled over when the officer claimed i was going 10mph over (my car was on it’s last limb and shook violently at 3mph over the posted speed limit). Ditched the car and got something bland and black. Then ditched that and got something less bland but black. no issues since.

    • Dom says:

      This article completely misinterprets the statistics in the original study. Yes, white cars are the most commonly pulled over cars, but there are also significantly more white cars than other colors. As a rate, white cars are actually pulled over less than red or grey and more than silver.

  5. Louis says:

    I think that black ones get pulled over the most. Specifically, Black males who get pulled over for nothing!

  6. Eκτωρ says:

    Excluding Trucks and SUV ‘s from the most sold in US… we find the Corolla and Camry as the first Sedans on the list… per capita it makes sense that the camry is amongst the most pulled over vehicle… More people drive it. or maybe more black people drive Camrys… who knows!

  7. Bruce says:

    The validity of saying that the study mentioning color is adequate for generalizations aside. While it’s true that white was ticketed the most. White was 25% of the cars in the population. This means that about 25% of the citations ought to be for white cars, but only 19% are for white cars. Meanwhile, given red’s 14% population, we would again expect 14% of citations, but instead, red cars had 16% of citations. Red cars were more likely to be pulled over than white cars. “It seems like flashy-colored cars [do] get pulled over as often as we think.” Except we still don’t have enough data to say that either.

    • antiseptic says:

      Despite being 6% of the car population, grey cars get 10% of the citations. Possibly due to the driver thinking cops only notice flashy colors.

    • Dom says:

      Exactly. This is better analysis than the entire article.

  8. PeWee Funkel says:

    The article pointed out that TOYOTA CAMRY is one of the top 3 cars to get pulled over. I owned a 2012 Camry LE (4 cylinder) that was practically black with black sporty wheels, for 4.5 yrs. Since practically day 1, it was non stop tickets, hardcore cut off’s, and hard core tailgated. If there was ever 2 people speeding, I was ALWAYS the one to get stopped and sited. I almost my license with that car alone. I got followed by cops occasionally too, just waiting for me to break a law.

    Now that I have a fast 2017, shiny ruby red F150, I never get cut off, tailgated, or pulled over. Cops don’t pay attention to me any more, even if they glance at me while speeding. Ex. today I was speeding 15 over but slowed down to a steady 10 over (still too fast) before passing a stoped cop (40 mph limit). The cop barely looked at me but proceeded to pull out his radar gun to tag and stop the car behind me which I guarantee wasn’t going 15 over at any point like I was at first. I easily would have been stopped in the Camry for that one.