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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.

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Steve Petty
May 15, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Numbers don't lie. 2 or 3x average for driver-at-fault accidents tells it all. Observation only confirms the hard data. It's nothing to do with envy. I'm 55, have worked as a professional truck driver, with over a million miles under my belt. Also, I've owned performance vehicles and yes, I've occasionally driven above speed limits. I do, however, try as they say in Texas to "drive friendly". I've seen a lot of crazy drivers in different makes and models, but overwhelmingly, BMW drivers seem to have a sense of entitlement and a disregard for others.

April 30, 2014 at 8:09 am

MDS goes on about prices and models but says nothing to dispute the study's data. Which data do you disagree with, MDS? The study was pretty clear: BMW drivers are the worst. Period.

April 09, 2014 at 6:06 pm

I think that many -- not all -- people who drive entry-level luxury brand cars are over their heads. There was a time when all Mercedes, Porches, etc., were expensive, like all Rolls Royces and Bentleys still are. I understand why Mercedes builds relatively inepxpensive cars: there's the snob factor; they're trying to cultivate brand loyalty among young people, whom they expect will buy their top-of-the-line models when they are set in their careers. My sense is that a $40,000 Toyota is a lot better than a $40,000 Mercedes. What do others think? By the way, I drive a $120,000 Mercedes, and for the type of driver I am, nothing like it.

April 03, 2014 at 12:40 am

Didn't need a study to tell me this. As the old joke goes:

What's the difference between a porcupine and a BMW?
A porcupine has its pr!cks on the outside!

March 13, 2014 at 8:35 pm

There is nothing more rude than the typical BMW driver. Somewhere along the line, they were all convinced that they drive the king of the road. There is nothing more ridiculous than an aggressive BMW driver, especially one of the many who recently stepped up from a Honda Accord or something like that. In addition, almost 90% of those overrated Teutonic crates are leased; many of the amateurs behind the wheel are driving over their heads. Many know this.

No envy here either. I drive a 2013 SHO with 365 HP and enough torque to pull any BMW backwards. I just laugh at the at the BMW jerks playing the role on the road. I'm courteous to everyone, including them as I drive my American made rocket.

Joe H.
February 12, 2014 at 2:55 pm

BMW drivers are, indeed, some of the most aggressive, reckless and inconsiderate drivers on the road. They are only matched by those lunkheads who drive full-sized Dodge Ram pickup trucks. Hard to discern which are worse!

February 04, 2014 at 3:32 pm

To the idiot who mentioned entry level cars; the 7 is at the top of the line.
As far as the 3 is concerned; get educated on all the different models and powertrains they come with. A 2014 3 runs from about $45 to $60K. $90 if you want the M Sport.
If this is entry level for a car, half the world would be walking.
What we have here is BMW envy.

February 03, 2014 at 5:19 pm

That may be because BMW has yet to find any qualified Ultimate Drivers! Just Sayin.

February 03, 2014 at 9:21 am

My theory is that anyone driving the entry-level model in any luxury line is a bad driver.

January 12, 2014 at 12:31 pm

We Americans are brainwashed to think that we're having sex when we're driving a car. And we are driving a car when we are having sex!