February 1, 2009

Hummer drivers get the most tickets because driving a Hummer gives you the attitude that makes you drive the way that deserves tickets.

Those arrogant bastards. Or is it that the cops perceive them as arrogant bastards?


I see that the lefty blog Crooks and Liars links to this story. It reprints a big block of text under the stock wisecrack "Well, color me surprised." It's not the whole text of the article though. It's cut off after a set of quotes about how the kind of people who drive Hummers must be the kind of people who flout the law. Readers who don't click through don't see the complicating material: The cars that get the second and third most tickets — Scion tC and xB — are small. And though a Chevy Tahoe is nearly the same car as the Hummer, Tahoe drivers get less than the average number of tickets. Crooks and Liars also elides:
[A]re Hummer drivers being persecuted by state troopers?
I'll bet if the news story was about police disproportionately ticketing some category of driver the Crooks and Liars liked instead of hated, doubts about police behavior would have been the main point of the post.

I scanned the 118 comments to see if anyone brought up the skepticism about cops I would normally — but not now — expect to find on a lefty blog. But no. They devolve into denouncement of the "the modern day red-neck pig" — where pig ≠ cop — and theories about the penis.


AllenS said...

What on earth is that school bus made of, Kryptonite?

Xmas said...

Hmm...If only there were some sort of connection between Hummer drivers and Scion drivers. Maybe some connection..

Oh yeah, perhaps there's a disproportionate number of young, "urban" drivers.

traditionalguy said...

No statistics, but an observation of mine is that Hummer drivers are seen by young, low paid police officers the same way they see red sports cars driven by young men their age: I'll show them who really has power. This category can never violate without an automatic ticket, like when all the NFL refs on the field throw a flag simutaneously. Let a 30+ year old in his family car do the exact same violation and he'll get a pass, unless it's the last 2 days of the month. Traffic police do act personal at this level as one of their compensations for low starting pay grades.

Anonymous said...

I've been buzzed on surface streets by a few speeding Hummers. It was scary, the driver could not have been conscious of how many tons they had in motion. Maybe the mindset was the same as a speeding Porsche, but the 4-wheel ventilated discs were missing, and the stopping distance was more akin to a trash truck.

Yeah, I can see why cops would write them up. Maybe they saw, you know, an actual danger.

(On correlation versus causation, I think they were that way before they chose the Hummer, not vis versa.)

Bissage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tibore said...

The study writeup linked gives nothing but the group's final percentages and opinions, and zero context. That's sloppy science. "Violations" cover a range of ticketable offenses, and we are given no sense of what offenses the H2/H3 drivers commmit. To take an silly and improbable scenario just to illustrate this point: If the "violations" committed were mostly parking issues, and another vehicle committed more severe violations per 100,000 miles - running red lights, or having collisions, for example - then who gives a damn that these Hummer models are at the top of the list? If that hypothetical is to ridiculous, then consider whether the tickets were for rolling violations like rolling stops that don't involve anything other than that single Hummer driver, but some other vehicle committed a higher percentage of accidents involving other drivers and possibly causing injury. Which vehicle actually represents more danger, then? The point is we don't know from the single statistic given. But severity does matter. We're given conclusions but no background, so we don't know what the danger is that Hummer drivers represent. We only know how many violations are reported, not the severity of such. Break down those violations too! Otherwise, the statistic cited barely means anything because anyone can cast any meaning onto it that they want to.


Look, I'm the first to roll my eyes at the poseurmobile known as the H2. But I never pretend that's anything other than personal opinion; too much hatred of full sized SUV's that gets expressed nowadays is utterly irrational, a convenient hook for silly pontificators to get their self-righteousness off with. Those comments at Crooks & Liars are about as ignorant as they come. "Modern red neck pig"?? I live in the middle of south central Indiana, and lemme tell you, the very, very few times I see a Hummer of any model driven around, it's by a guy who's never set foot outside a major metropolis until they came to college. Or, it's when I'm in a big city. Trust me, the "modern red neck pig" (judgemental, much, you preening faux-intellectual moron?) would rather drive around a quarter-ton pickup or Tahoe/Expedition type SUV - two types of vehicles on the "well-behaved list", by the way - than an overgaudy H2, which basically takes the quarter-ton frame, puts a boxy-assed ugly body on it, and gives you no more capacity or capability than a regular quarter-ton pickup or SUV, but costs over $10,000 more for the base model than a completely tricked-out Silverado/Sierra or Tahoe/Yukon would.

Stereotypes. Crooks and Liars seems to love to rip on those. They seem to be comfortable straw-men. That's lazy intellectualism to me.

Bissage said...

Same as every other hairy-chested, squinty-eyed, teeth-gritting, red-blooded American Male®, whenever I’m in the mood for some serious hard-core reckless driving, I take the minivan.

And remember, kids, click it or ticket. It’s a law we can live with.

joated said...

I wonder if there's a similar study showing which drivers volunteers to assist most in times of paralizing snow and/or flooding?

I'm betting it's not the little econo car drivers.

I remember numerous times when the 4x4 drivers were asked out in serious snow storms to aid shut-ins and assist in evacuations.

dbp said...

How could one tell if certain classes of vehicle were getting a disproportionate number of moving violations, independent of driver behavior?

I would think that careless driving would be highly correlated with both accidents and moving violations. So, make a scatter plot where each dot is a model of car, the X coordinate is moving violations and the Y is accidents.

One would look for deviations from a cluster of dots that I would guess would form a rough slope.

The idea is that if red corvettes attract aggressive drivers they should get more tickets and have more accidents.

Freeman Hunt said...

Couldn't it be something as simple as Hummers being the easiest to see? They're big vehicles, they're tall, and they come in some bright colors. I imagine that makes them easier for cops to spot and easier for cops to target with radar guns.

Anonymous said...

It's cut off after a set of quotes about how the kind of people who drive Hummers must be the kind of people who flout the law.

Uh-oh. Are there enough Cabinet posts for all of them?

EDH said...

...how the kind of people who drive Hummers must be the kind of people who flout the law.

Uh-oh. Are there enough Cabinet posts for all of them?

How convenient that a Hummer can serve as the "clown car" for the Obama cabinet.

Big Mike said...

Tibore has it right as usual. This study would shame a modern high school student -- despite the very low standards of 21st century K-12 education.

Still, one observation. My wife and I live in a middle-class suburb that borders one of the most upper-class suburban areas of the country. And women driving those monster SUVs come charging down our streets and tearing after open parking spaces in the local shopping center with the type of reckless abandon of Jordan Baker (Great Gatsby, for those of you who've forgotten) driving her big car in the Roaring Twenties. Sort of a get-out-of-my-way-or-suffer-the-consequence attitude. So, yeah, there I'm going to defend the cops on this one.

former law student said...

Ms. Hunt has a good point. The Hummer has an ungodly big and boxy radar cross-section. The Suburbans and Tahoes, although equally huge, are more rounded. And one of the Scion models listed has the same boxy styling as the Hummers, only smaller. I bet both models light up radar equally well.

I realize this theory does not cover the other, sporty Scion model. But I suspect cheap, entry level sporty cars attract the young risktaking male set.

paul a'barge said...

I wonder if these mutts realize yet what is coming next when they get pulled over and the cop walking up looks at their bumper and sees the Obama-Biden sticker on their bumper.

Christy said...

Just yesterday I picked up a charming conversation at the gas pumps with a very hot 30ish guy driving a beautiful new white H3. I wondered who the hell buys a white off-road vehicle, but, well, did I mention he was hot? Truthfully, I want a Hummer, but I'd be kicked out of my Prius-driving book club.

Donna B. said...

I would never buy a Hummer, but I am in the market for an old Humvee, with the 50 still attached.

jeff said...

I'm with Donna. I would love to have the original. Not impressed with the others.

Michael McNeil said...

About a year ago there was an episode of the “Judge Alex” court TV show wherein one gentleman was suing another for hitting him in the face with a snowball — a hard snowball: the defendant had been riding around in a hummer with a dashboard full of iceballs, throwing them as a lark at random folk — which in this instance broke the plaintiff’s glasses and left him with a bruised face.

The risible thing is, the suer turned out to be a concealed-carry permit holder who was carrying at the time, and he described going through the evaluation in his mind (that concealed carrier's are trained to do) to decide whether the assault on him fitted criteria warranting a lethal response, determined that it didn’t — whereupon Judge Alex asked him: “So after you decided not to kill him, what did you do then?”

As the plaintiff stated, he simply noted down the defendant’s license number, did some background checking, and filed suit — that’s how things are done in America.

The guy won his lawsuit, but didn’t get pain and suffering — just replacement glasses.

blake said...

“So after you decided not to kill him, what did you do then?”

Well, I moped for a while, your honor.

Synova said...

"Couldn't it be something as simple as Hummers being the easiest to see? They're big vehicles, they're tall, and they come in some bright colors."

You beat me to it.

I'm shocked at just how many hummers there are around here. Yes, there is legitimate need for vehicles that can handle some pretty poor mountain roads in winter weather, but the economy would seem to suggest a 4 wheel drive that isn't quite as pricey.

So... are there really that many, or do I just notice EVERY SINGLE ONE that I pass on the road?

They're hard to miss.

Tibore said...

Just out of curiosity, Synova, do you live in an urban or suburban area? And is it in/near a large (Population over 500,000), medium (between 100,000 & 500,000) or small (<100,000) population center?

The reason I'm asking is because, as I said above, I almost never see any where I'm at (pop. where I live ~67,000 to ~72,000, depending on which resource you cite). The few I see tend to have out-of-city and out-of-state license plates. I think I've only seen one - yes, only 1 - Hummer (an H1, prior to even the H1 Alpha, twas a slopeback) that's actually owned locally. But I can't help but see them anytime I'm either in Indianapolis and Chicago (both large cities). My point is that it's like I only ever see them in large city environments, a place where they'd be most inconvenient.

I'm not asking for your actual city of residence; I value the heck out of internet privacy (especially since I lock horns with 9/11 truthers online, and some of them are known to bug people off the 'net), so I'm just asking with much obsfucation if you're near a big urban area or not. My own thesis is that this "rugged, off road" vehicle is most commonly found where the only hills to climb are paved, even more so than other SUVs (which I see all over the place here).

Bissage said...

(1) Years ago I took a girl out on a date downtown. When the show was over, we got the car and as soon as I drove out of the parking garage she started to give me a Hummer®.

She kept hitting her head on the steering wheel and my dingus skin snagged on my zipper and we hit every red light which meant I had to move my leg to hit the brake which meant we both had to adjust and she bit me and it wasn’t more than four blocks before I said, “You know what? I appreciate the gesture and all but maybe this isn’t working out so well.”

She said, “Yeah, maybe you’re right.”

(2) Oh, come on!

Someone on this thread had to go there!


Don’t act so high and mighty!

Synova said...

Tibore, I live in the mountains east of Albuquerque. There are actually quite a few *very* pricey houses in a "country club" sort of area North of me and I don't doubt that's where most of the hummers originate. Even on the good roads, though, there will be a few times each winter when we get snowed in.

I'm mostly wondering if there seems to be as many of them as there ARE, or if it seems like there are more than there are, because they are so noticeable.

Revenant said...

Any kind of flashy car will draw a cop's attention. And cops only write tickets to the folks they notice. :)