My dear old friend, Ray Pascoe, purchased a new car last Fall.A hot little Corvette convertible…in a sweet cherry red (a.k.a.mid-life crisis red).He claims that, prior to purchasing the “vette”, he had gotten one speeding ticket in the last 21 years! Since he purchased the car, within 6 months, he’s been pulled over at least twenty times. He is now convinced that the combination of“sports car” and “red” have cost him lots of money and grief (as well as ribbing from all of his friends).
I recall the day he got his first ticket in that car. He was on the phone with me…in an active school zone…hello??? Totally distracted. All excited. Telling me all about his new car…not realizing that he was speeding right through a school zone…with the yellow light flashing…between the hours of “I can’t afford this” and “what was I thinking??”. A Corvette probably idles over 20mph (as do the pacemakers of those who drive them), so he’d likely have to ride his brake through any school zone, regardless. And really??? 20mph? If you were going any slower, you’d be in reverse. But little ones…they’ll run right out in front of you. They can’t be responsible for their own actions. That’s why there are so many rules/laws in school zones. So, bam! Nice double whammy! Cited for both speeding and talking.
Here’s the funny part…He says “Hey, I’m getting pulled over by a Cop in a school zone”. I tell him “I suggest you hang up the phone, Goober, you’re going to get a ticket for that!” And he says (no kidding..you can’t even make this $#!+ up…) “Should I tell him I’m on the phone with you??” (like I’m a World famous defensive driving instructor, right?) I tell him “No! And don’t give some Cop my name. I don’t need my name written down in some Cop’s notebook”. He ended up getting three tickets from that Officer. One for speeding through an active school zone. One for talking on a hand-held device in an active school zone. And the third one?? I don’t even know. Maybe he was cited for having a mid-life crisis. Now he is absolutely convinced…that darned red Corvette is a Cop magnet.End of the story??? Almost. The Corvette is for sale. Dirt cheap. With low miles, too, since it spent most of its life at the city impound.
So here are my questions:
Do car insurance companies use the color of your car to determine your rates?
Do certain colors increase your chance of an accident?
Do people with yellow cars really get less speeding tickets than those with red cars?
Did I unplug the iron before I left the house?
These were questions that plagued me. But they were thought provoking questions. And, God knows, that some of us need to be provoked to think.
Seems like anywhere I’ve lived (Illinois, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Nebraska, the Dallas County Correctional Facility for Women…just kidding…about Nebraska…who the hell do you know that’s actually from Nebraska?? ) people seem to agree that, at least in those states, the police tend to target the red sports cars. But not in California. People in California are so cool, mellow and laid back. Hell, it’s no wonder they’re 3 hours behind New York. In Cali, they’re more concerned about the environment than they are speeders. Their littering fine is cheaper than manslaughter. A study shows that their top “magnet” vehicles for being profiled by the law for getting the most moving violations are not the red cars…the sports cars. They target cars that aren’t up to their emissions codes, cars that pollute and gas guzzlers. I read somewhere that their #1 car for being targeted by the police is the Hummer. Doesn’t the Govenator drive a Hummer? I hear he has a fleet of them. Their least targeted car in California, just like most places?? You got it! Electric cars, hybrids, Oldsmobiles, Buicks, family mini vans, station wagons, white serial killer vans with no windows…cops never pull them over, do they??…until it’s too late.
According to my insurance agent, there are no official statistics to reinforce the urban legend about red cars getting more tickets. The lack of statistics makes it impossible to say which color cars get more tickets. But police and insurance companies deny any link between red cars and the increase of tickets and accidents. In general, driving the speed limit, stopping at red lights (all of them, please), yielding to oncoming traffic, and making your cell phone calls when you are completely stopped (no, don’t finish your text at a red light) is always a good idea and will probably keep your rates low, no matter what color car you drive.
So, does your car insurance company use color to determine your premium? The answer is no. If you want that mid-life crisis yellow or red car, go right ahead and get it. We all deserve a laugh!
Until next week…be safe….and take your fiber….
( Daun Thompson is a comedienne, writer and an instructor at Comedy Defensive Driving School in Texas, filling in for Danny Keaton while he is touring the Pacific Northwest and Great Southwest… he’s fine by the way…I just sent him gas money… )