There’s a long-standing urban legend that red cars are pulled over by police officers more often than any other vehicles. Young drivers in particular may be advised not to buy red cars because it is more likely that they will get a ticket. Instead, they are often advised to buy something a bit more mundane, such as a white, black or gray car.
Does this urban legend, actually hold any weight? Do police officers target red cars and pull them over more often?
White cars get the most overall tickets
Studies have shown that the four colors of cars that get the most tickets are, in this order, white, red, gray and silver. White cars, for example, get 19% of all of the traffic tickets that are given out in a single year. Red cars only get 16% of the traffic tickets, gray cars get 10% and silver cars get 5%. This makes it appear that the drivers of white cars are actually in the greatest danger of being ticketed.
But there’s another component to consider. White vehicles are the most popular with buyers, so they make up a full 25% of the vehicles on the road. But they’re still only getting ticketed 19% of the time. By contrast, red cars make up just 14% of the vehicles on the road. Since they get 16% of the traffic tickets, they are actually receiving them at a disproportionate rate. They’re being given tickets at a higher rate than the total numbers would suggest. It could very well be that police officers are more likely to pull over red cars than they are any other color vehicle.
Other factors to consider
It’s not just color that makes a difference. Sports cars are also more likely to be pulled over than family SUVs or minivans. Luxury cars and vehicles that are aimed at young people also tend to be ticketed more often than something like a Chevy Suburban.
But it’s clear that color can play a role and may potentially be the reason someone gets pulled over. No matter what color of car one drives though, it’s important to understand that every motorist has rights upon being pulled over and that they are also empowered to seek legal guidance at any time.