DOES THE COLOR OF YOUR CAR GET YOU MORE SPEEDING TICKETS?

This debate has been going on for as many years as there have been different colors of cars. Conventional wisdom suggests red cars attract police officers’ attention more than any other color. The stereotype of a red sports car pulled over to the side of the freeway with a CHP cruiser, lights on, right behind it is ubiquitous. But does vehicle color matter as far as quantity of speeding citations go?

For the answer, let’s turn to everyone’s favorite urban legend debunker, Snopes (www.snopes.com). According to the website, “it has been postulated that red, being an especially eye-catching color, unduly attracts the attention of the highway patrol.” Also, “another theory has it that a color-prompted optical illusion makes red cars appear to be going faster than they actually are and so works to get them clocked more often by John Law.” Snopes investigators concluded that “they’re great theories, one and all. Problem is, their premise is flawed as it does not appear that red cars get cited for speeding more often than they statistically should.”

If anyone has ever gone to traffic school (for research purposes only, of course), they may have heard that white cars attract more speeding tickets. The logic being that white contrasts the most from the black pavement and is therefore more visible. In addition, white is more visible at night than other colors and thus catches the eye (and radar gun) of local law enforcement. Untrue, says Snopes. According to the group, “white cars, which accounted for 25 percent of the local vehicle population, received only 19 percent of the tickets, which meant such jalopies were cited for their transgressions less often than they should have been.”

So does color matter to the probability of being cited for speeding?  The short answer is “no.” In reality, the best way to avoid getting a speeding ticket is to drive at the posted limit.