Are Luxury Car Owners More Likely To Be Reckless Drivers?

For some, the allure of burning rubber in a sleek, ultra-fast sports car or revving their engine in an upgraded muscle car is almost too good to resist. After all, Hollywood hasn’t put their time, energy, and resources into 13 films centered around these luxurious vehicles for fun. But do the  amazing capabilities these cars possess have the ability not just to draw attention, but also higher accident rates? And if they do, is the issue with the vehicle, or the driver?

What Do The Statistics Say?

When it comes to assessing a luxury car owner’s aptitude for driving reckless, the best place to start is with the numbers.

Accident Rates By Make And Model

Every year the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) compiles and publishes data on the make and model of vehicles involved in road accidents. The passenger cars and trucks involved in the fewest crashes include Smart Car’s ForTwo electric model, the Ford Edge, the GMC Canyon crew cab, and the Ford F-150 SuperCrew. On the other end of the spectrum are the most accident prone cars. The top four spots went to the Bentley Continental GT, the Maserati GranTurismo, Bentley Continental GTC, Bentley Continental Flying Spur, and the Ferrari 458 Spider.

These are all cars known for power, luxury, and speed, and have a luxury price tag to match. According to Kelly Blue Book, the average Bentley retails for around $200,000, a Maserati GranTurismo for $150,000, and the Ferrari for over $250,000. Simply put, fast and expensive cars get into more accidents than their more pedestrian counterparts.

Accident Severity And Damage Expense

In addition to the number of accidents by make and model, the IIHS also compares damage susceptibility of all the different cars and trucks on American roads and highways. Damage susceptibility refers to how severe the damage to a crashed vehicle is in terms of severity. From the frequency and cost of accident claims, the stats show that despite not being driven as often as most vehicles, these high-dollar, high-performance cars tend to incur the most severe and expensive damages when involved in a crash.

Why Are Luxury Car Crash Rates So High?

So what is it about these types of vehicles that makes for such an expensive cruise down the highway? Is the cars themselves, or is it the drivers? Like most things in life, the answer is a little more complicated than just this or that.

Vehicle Use And Capability

While everyone buys any vehicle to get from point A to point B, the way that an owner uses their vehicle makes a big impact on how they might drive it. Sedans, SUVs, and vans are more likely to be used as a family vehicle, transporting children to school and sports practice. The drivers are usually parents, and are not as likely to drive in higher speed areas and could be a little more defensive with safety in mind. Trucks are often used to move larger items (or many items) to another place, making them heavier and unable to achieve higher speeds. A sports or luxury car is often a one-person operation, and these vehicles just don’t have the space to perform tasks like the others do. The driver didn’t buy one to haul lumber, after all.

Another important point to make is that luxury sports cars, even the sedan varieties, offer a higher level of performance that the average consumer car or truck just doesn’t. Bigger and more efficient engines and aerodynamic designs mean that these cars get to high speeds quicker than most cars and their top speed far outpaces the average. These cars are designed in a way not just to go fast, but to LOOK like it goes fast.

Who Drives These Luxury Cars?

The amount of technical prowess and engineering needed to achieve that performance makes them expensive and rare. While anyone from any walk of life can be a car buff, to afford a high-end luxury car ready to drive means you have to splash some serious cash. And the higher crash rates for these vehicles means that car insurance is pretty steep as well. But what do the numbers say? A university in Finland conducted a study on the traits of luxury car owners. They tended to be higher earning males over the age of 50 with a history of aggressive behavior or an antagonistic personality. They also reported that the car was just as important to its owner as a status symbol as it was for its performance.

So, Does A Luxury Car Really Equal A Reckless Owner?

Of course, it is not fair to say that every single luxury car owner is a reckless driver. That’s just not the case. But the numbers don’t lie, and they do show a pretty clear trend. Owners of luxury, high-performing, expensive automobiles are more likely to get into accidents, and those accidents are usually more serious and expensive than others. That famous Hollywood franchise may have banked over $5 billion in ticket sales so far, but remember that those are professionals. Stay safe out there, everyone!

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