Though it might seem counterintuitive, the best way to avoid tickets is to drive a loud sports car. At least that’s what a survey of the most ticketed cars suggests; you don’t see any Ferraris, Lamborghinis, or even Corvettes on the top 20. In fact, luxury brands were often spared when traffic violations and parking tickets were concerned.
According to Insurance.com, which conducted a study of 323,000 cars over a two-year period ending in 2016, luxury cars like the Lexus IS 350 and Cadillac ATS were among the least ticketed. Maybe it has something to do with driver age. By the time someone can afford an exotic sports car, they tend to be graying at the temples.
With a few exceptions, the cars that were among the most frequently targeted would hardly turn heads on the road. Here are the top 10 ticket magnets in America.
10. Toyota Tacoma
Trucks are getting off easy when it comes to tickets — unless you drive a Tacoma. Toyota’s pickup was the only truck in the top 10, and you have to go all the way up to No. 20 to find another (Chevy Tahoe). There are a number of theories to explore as to why Tacoma gets off worse than, say, an F-150 or Silverado in the ticketing department. We’re just here to report the facts, not propose a hidden advantage of buying an American-badged truck.
9. Acura 3.0s
Not too many drivers will have to worry about getting ticketed in the Acura 3.0 Type S, which is among the most obscure cars in the world on this list. Nonetheless, if you are one of the rare, lucky souls who is in possession of a sporty CL model from early on in the last decade, put some quarters in the meter and signal before you turn.
8. Dodge Stratus SXT
Continuing with the theme of discontinued cars, we present the Dodge Stratus, which gets a disproportionate number of tickets compared to the rest of the vehicles on U.S. roads, especially if you drive the SXT coupe or sedan. Stratus exited the scene with the 2006 model year as Avenger took its place, but meter maids and traffic cops are keeping it relevant.
7. Volkswagen Golf GTI
With 210 horses powering its petite frame, the Volkswagen Golf GTI hot hatch is a natural for ticketing. If you’ve ever seen the neon orange model, you know how much they can stand out on a busy street. Ford Focus ST, a natural competitor, managed to stay off the most-ticket list for 2016.
6. Mazda 3s
The very well-reviewed compact Mazda3 has a rough go at it in the ticketing department with about 30% of its drivers reporting a citation. Among the top 10 on this list, you may notice high-volume models are spared frequent tickets, suggesting the models hit most often have a knack for standing out from the pack. Mazda3 would be among that group, for better or worse.
5. Chevrolet Monte Carlo
The now-discontinued Chevy Monte Carlo has one of the cooler names in cars and the colorful history to match. It began as a stylish sport coupe for 1970s gangsters and other revelers of the night but, by the time it reached its sixth generation, showed off the influence of NASCAR. It’s an eye-catcher in most generations, which might explain the high frequency of tickets.
4. Volkswagen Jetta GL
Some cars just seem to be unlucky on the road. The Volkswagen Jetta GL is the perfect example. Some 31% of drivers reported they had been ticketed in the Insurance.com survey, but there is no logical explanation other than its status as a starter car in the previous decade. Younger drivers are naturals for parking tickets and moving violations alike.
3. Dodge Charger SE/XLT
Dodge Chargers of the base SE and SXT trims are ticketed more frequently than R/T models that feature more power. This car, which is one of just a few on this list still in production, counts itself among the edgier sedans on the market, so maybe there is a rebellious nature to its typical driver. Dodge commercials would certainly lead you to believe so.
2. Nissan 350z
The Nissan 350z had a run from 2002 through 2009 as both coupe and roadster, with even a NISMO model entering the picture in the final years of production. All things considered, this type of two-seater with available drop-top is the sort of car you expect to be ticketed at the highest rate possible, even branded as a Nissan. Strangely, no Porsche or Corvette came close to it.
1. Lexus ES 300
Look out, Lexus ES 300 drivers, for this car is the most ticketed in America in the most recent survey. That might sound strange, considering this model ended its production run with the 2003 edition. (More recent versions include the ES 330, ES 350, and hybrid ES 300h). In any event, no car was targeted more often by cops than the ES 300 — this low-key Lexus of the past.