Could poor driving habits be linked to wealth?

Back in 2013 researchers at the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California Berkeley examined how motorists in California behave when approaching intersections with pedestrians. They found that there was a huge boost in a driver’s likelihood to commit infractions in more expensive cars, with the cars in the beater-car category always stopping for pedestrians.

The study came to mind thanks to new MoneySuperMarket research out today that shows drivers with a personalised number plates are six times more likely to have received a speeding ticket in the past three years. Over half of people who own the so-called ‘vanity’ plates admitted to being slapped with a speeding ticket in the past three years – over six times more than those with a standard plate.

The research also found that 14 per cent of all UK drivers own a personalised plate, with men more than twice as likely to have one than women. The plates are most common in London, unsurprisingly, and BMW owners are most likely to have a personalised plate, confirming the old stereotype that most BMW drivers are pricks.

And those with regular registrations are well aware of it.  One in three view owners of private licenses as ‘posers’ and half of Brits are so against the fashionable car enhancement that they would never consider getting one.

Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “With the release of the new ‘67’ number plates, getting a personalised registration is at the front of many people’s mind. But there are a few things to consider before you buy.

“Anyone with a personalised plate should tell their insurer immediately when they get it so their policy can reflect the change in registration. And they should also be aware that, in the event their vehicle is written off and they make a claim on their insurance, the car usually becomes the property of the insurer, along with the registration. So it’s vital the driver tells both the DVLA and the insurer that they want to hang onto the plate as quickly as possible. If they don’t and the car is scrapped and sold on, then they’ll lose their right to use it in future.”

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