ASK A TROOPER
By Sgt. CURT S. MOWERS
Minnesota State Patrol
Question: I have been hearing discussions for years now that red cars are most frequently stopped by law enforcement officers, compared to other colored cars. I have also heard red cars are involved in more motor vehicle crashes than that of other colored cars. Is there any truth to either of these longtime stories/myths?
Answer: I doubt it, but who knows. I don’t know if any studies have been done on it, but I am sure that whatever color of vehicle is getting stopped more than any others is purely coincidental (because it’s not against the law to drive red colored vehicles)! As far as more crashes, I doubt that too, because I have always been told the opposite, that red cars are safer because they stand out more and are therefore more visible than some of the other vehicle colors. Red cars do stand out, but we are looking for violations and the color of the vehicle really has nothing to do with that as far as I can see.
There are a lot of myths relating to the operation of motor vehicles that seem to hang on for many decades. Many years ago when I was a young trooper, I witnessed something during a court trial. A man from out-of-state accused the local judge of having the law enforcement specially watch for “out of state drivers” versus Minnesotans to charge for violations. The judge stopped court, and ordered an immediate hand survey of all traffic tickets on file for the past two to three years to be sorted for in-state versus out-of-state violators. The pile of tickets to violators from in-state was like Mount Everest when compared to the small pile of tickets to drivers from out-of-state. Court was put back into session and the man was found guilty in a prompt manner, paid his fine and left quietly.
Thanks for asking.