Cars Blog

Finance Blogs » Cars Blog » Study: BMW drivers are the worst

Study: BMW drivers are the worst

By Claes Bell ·
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Posted: 5 pm ET

Maybe  "Glengarry Glen Ross" writer David Mamet was onto something when he had Alec Baldwin's abusive and famously foul-mouthed character brag about his "$80,000 BMW."

Turns out there's substantial scientific evidence that BMW drivers are some of the most aggressive and selfish on the road.


A study conducted in 2012 by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Toronto examined driver behavior at a four-way intersection and crosswalk on busy roads in California. Drivers were graded on criteria such as whether they cut in front of other drivers or stopped for pedestrians in a crosswalk.

In general, luxury-car drivers were the least likely to be kind to other drivers and pedestrians, but BMW drivers earned a special mention from Berkeley researcher Paul K. Piff.

"One of the most significant trends was that fancy cars were less likely to stop," Piff told Benjamin Preston of The New York Times. "BMW drivers were the worst."

Maybe that penchant for aggressive driving has something to do with why the BMW 3 Series and BMW 7 Series hold spots on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's list of the top 10 models that generate collision insurance losses for car insurance companies.

Those losses are based on the frequency and size of collision insurance claims, and it's important to note, collision insurance only pays out when the driver is at fault, according to the IIHS. According to data from IIHS website, the collision insurance losses on BMW 7 Series are more than twice the average for vehicles nationwide, and BMW 3 Series two-doors are more than three times.

So the next time you're walking or driving down the road, you might want to give any cars with blue and white roundels, and their drivers, a wide berth.

What do you think? Are BMW drivers really the worst? If so, why do you think that is?

Follow me on Twitter: @ClaesBell.

Bankrate wants to hear from you and encourages comments. We ask that you stay on topic, respect other people's opinions, and avoid profanity, offensive statements, and illegal content. Please keep in mind that we reserve the right to (but are not obligated to) edit or delete your comments. Please avoid posting private or confidential information, and also keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

By submitting a post, you agree to be bound by Bankrate's terms of use. Please refer to Bankrate's privacy policy for more information regarding Bankrate's privacy practices.
January 09, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Truck drivers will try to run you off the road on I-70.

January 06, 2014 at 4:15 pm

In my opinion, the worst drivers are the 90 lb. soccer moms driving SUVs the size of troop carriers. They usually also have a cell phone permanently attached to their ear as well.

Frances R. Malley
January 04, 2014 at 1:41 pm

People who drive expensive luxury cars in my opinion are the most arrogant and obnoxious. It has to do with our sick/misled/me first attitude of our society. People don't care about one another any more and live their lives as if the whole world revolves around their selfish/self-centered/material-idolizing/pathetic/morally bankrupt existances. It's not that BMWs are bad , it's just that these pathetic status worshiping idiots bow down to the I'm better than you because I drive a BMW. The same goes for Benzes,Audis,cadillacs,Lincolns etc....

November 01, 2013 at 6:20 am

IMO, the Prius and the Corvette are the two cars most likely to be driving below the limit ... in the left lane. Both cars are all about "look at me" and the narcissists who drive them have no concern for the line of traffic stacked up behind them.

Stan “The Man”
October 17, 2013 at 11:48 am

As a former longtime 7 series owner I can say it's the torque, pure and simple!!! Why a "former" owner you ask? It was the torque. Too many tickets!!!

Bill Beamer
October 17, 2013 at 9:06 am

Absolutely agree, as the owner of a black BMW 5 series I consider those rules of the road to apply to other people. Besides, stopping at intersections increases the risk of spilling the very expensive claret I'm drinking, has anyone factored that tragic waste into the equation! Out of my way peasants!

October 09, 2013 at 1:58 pm

This study ignores highway driving courtesy entirely. Which cars are least likely to use turn signals? Which cars are most likely to be going slower in the left lane than those in the center or right lanes? What about cell phone / texting use ? Prius drivers are generally the most likely to stop for pedestrians, but are they also the most likely to attempt to merge onto a freeway at 15-20 mph below the speed limit or drive so slowly as to create an impediment to the flow of traffic while hypermiling? All these things need to be considered in a study about which cars tend to have the worst drivers.

October 07, 2013 at 1:02 am

Yes, I agree. BMW drivers are the worst of all for not obeying traffic laws. The fact that they spend that much money on a car tells you they are not too bright to begin with. I think many BMW drivers are learning disabled.

September 30, 2013 at 6:34 am

YES.... THANK YOU! I have always suspected this, just from living in Dallas and observing the moderate traffic I deal with every single day. I would even take this a STEP FURTHER and purport that the propensity for reckless/illegal/selfish driving habits is greater with drivers of luxury cars that happen to be painted BLACK. I don't know why this is, but the cars with BLACK paint happen to seem more aggressive than those with RED paint!! Ohhhh, this is such a pet peeve with me!! Get over yourselves, @$$#0!3$.... and show some respect for the law and other people on the road.

September 16, 2013 at 5:46 pm

They call it a "license to thrill"!