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By Quentin Fottrell, MarketWatch


Shutterstock.com / Misunseo

The Subaru WRX may be an all-wheel drive sport-compact, but the drivers of this car are either driving too fast, or having difficulty parking: It receives the most violations of any vehicle.

More than one-in-three drivers of the Subaru WRX has had a recent traffic violation, according to data on 526 models from more than 557,000 recent customers released by Insurance.com, a car insurance comparison website. Making it three times to the Top 20 most ticketed cars, the Scion was the car brand with the most violations.

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The Most Ticketed Car in America Is...

A recent study showed Scion brand cars are ticketed most frequently, but which car model has the most violations? MarketWatch's Quentin Fottrell reports. Photo: iStock/westhoff

It’s no surprise that the list includes other sporty cars like the Mitsubishi 3000 GT and Scion FR-S, says Des Toups, managing editor of Insurance.com, but it also name-checks the hybrid Toyota /zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite TM +0.15%   Prius C, three sport-utility vehicles and even the now-defunct Mercury Topaz. But he doesn’t attribute the ticketing to green-eyed traffic cops. “Cars don’t get tickets, drivers do,” he says.

The number of violations may have more to do with the age of the drivers, says Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “These cars all appeal to a younger demographic and many of them skew heavily male,” he says. “Of course, young male drivers typically take the most risks and garner the most tickets, or are involved in the most accidents.”

Also see: 10 cars almost no women drive

In fact, the risk profile of younger drivers is reflected in their insurance costs. Adding a male teenager hikes premiums by an average of 92%, while female teen drivers hike premiums by 67%, according to a insuranceQuotes.com, a division of personal finance site Bankrate.com. The older their child becomes, the lower the premium: It falls from 96% for 16-year-olds to 58% for 19-year-olds.

And speed is not the only issue. The Chevrolet /zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite GM -0.22%   Corvette, Dodge   Viper and Nissan /zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed JP:7201 +1.81%   GT-R rank well below average for tickets even though they can easily double the highest speed limits, Toups says. But they’re also costly, “so their buyers tend to be older and take fewer risks.”

Around 20% of drivers reported having a traffic violation — usually speeding but also other offenses such as failure to yield and drunken driving — within the last three years. And when setting rates on particular vehicles, Toups says insurance companies pay more attention to claims than tickets. Accidents help drive up the rates of everyone who owns that car, he says. “Tickets tend to drive up your rates alone.”

The 20 cars with the most violations

1. Subaru WRX 33.60%
2. Pontiac GTO 32.70%
3. Scion FR-S 32.60%
4. Toyota Supra 30.80%
5. Subaru Tribeca 29.70%
6. Volkswagen Rabbit 29.60%
7. Mercury Topaz 28.80%
8. Scion tC 28.80%
9. Toyota FJ Cruiser 28.40%
10. Mazda2 28.10%
11. Hyundai Veloster 28.10%
12. Volkswagen GTI 28.10%
13. Suzuki Reno 28.10%
14. Scion xA 27.80%
15. Pontiac G8 27.70%
16. MINI Cooper S Countryman 27.50%
17. Mitsubishi 3000 GT 27.40%
18. Saturn Aura 27.10%
19. Infiniti QX56/QX80 27.10%
20. Toyota Prius C 27.00%
Source: Insurance.com

More from Quentin Fottrell:

Why white is the No. 1 car color: Blame Apple, not O.J.

5 biggest price hikes for new cars

3.5 million defective cars were sold online last year

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Quentin Fottrell is a personal finance reporter for MarketWatch based in New York. You can follow him on Twitter @quantanamo.

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