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Stats compare traffic tickets to make of vehicle

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Stats released this week by the Abbotsford Police Department are debunking the myth that police target specific types of cars when issuing traffic tickets.

The figures break down 31 makes of cars and compare the percentage of each of them on the road to the percentage of their drivers receiving tickets.

The stats cover the period from mid-2010 to the end of 2013, when there were 78,760 vehicles on the road and a total of 50,731 tickets issued.

Const. Ian MacDonald said in 17 of the categories, the numbers are equal. For example, 8.7 per cent of the cars on the road in Abbotsford are Dodges, and 8.7 per cent of traffic tickets in the city were issued to Dodge drivers.

Similarly, 4.6 per cent of vehicles are GM's, and 4.6 per cent of tickets were given to the drivers of those cars.

In eight categories, the number of tickets handed out was slightly greater than the percentage of those vehicles on the road.

Pontiacs, for example, account for 3.2 per cent of the vehicles but their drivers collected 4.7 per cent of the tickets. The figures for Chevys were 10.4 and 11.2 respectively.

Six makes of vehicles – Buick, Ford, Kia, Mercedes, Nissan and Toyota – had reverse numbers.

The biggest margin was with Toyotas, which make up 12.1 per cent of the vehicles on the road, but whose drivers collected 9.5 per cent of tickets.

MacDonald said it's difficult to pinpoint why there is a more dramatic variation with Toyota drivers than with other cars.

"Our best guess … is that we think certain types of people are attracted to certain types of cars. It may be … that people who are conservative are drawn to Toyotas," he said.

The figures indicate that it's driving behaviour, and not the type of car, that results in a ticket being handed out, MacDonald said.

He said police released the stats as a means of furthering discussion about road safety, which the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) has again made its top priority for the year.

The issue was also the top priority in 2013 after a year that saw nine traffic-related fatalities.

That number dropped to six last year. MacDonald said the APD would like to drop that figure even further – "ultimately, we would like to see none" – as well as see an "appreciable difference" in the number of injury-related crashes.

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