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More traffic tickets for drivers of hybrid vehicles

A new study of 360,000 vehicle insurance claims by San Francisco-based Quality Planning Corp has concluded that hybrid drivers get more traffic tickets and get into more accidents than drivers of conventional cars.

This certainly has the potential to force insurance companies to reconsider the discount many major insurers currently offer to hybrid drivers.

Here are some of the theories behind this:

  • Hybrid owners are more likely to live in a city and those who drive in a city are more likely to get traffic tickets than those who don’t.
  • The typical hybrid owner is also more likely to be a woman and older than average.  This is a FACT…no way around it.  Whether it’s the reason or even a contributing factor towards the higher rates of traffic tickets and accidents is something I wouldn’t touch with a half electric, half gas powered 10 foot long pole.
  • On average, hybrid owners drive more miles than non-hybrid.  Commuters drive about the same but non-commuters an  average of 25 percent—or 2,000 miles—more than non-hybrid drivers.  Not quite sure why hybrid owners drive more, but certainly more miles driven is a potential theory behind more traffic tickets and accidents.
  • Many hybrids throw a few extra gauges about the dash to show what’s going on, ranging from simple charge/assist gauges in GM’s mild hybrids to elaborate gas mileage and power-flow meters in the Camry Hybrid.  Perhaps drivers are distracted by all the information.
  • Finally, there’s always the old standby–the conspiracy theroy.  Perhaps insurance companies are fueling these studies so they can raise the rates for hybrid drivers who have typically enjoyed insurance discounts.

As we expect more and more drivers to move to vehicles like this in the future, we’ll keep an eye on this issue.

Submitted by Scott Feifer

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