Tesla owners tend to get a lot of hate. And according to a new study, at least some of that hate may be justified. Jerry, an AI-powered car insurance broker and auto refinancing service, examined safety scores and other data from 10 million car trips taken by 62,000 drivers, including 30,000 trips by 228 Tesla drivers. Here’s what they learned about who Tesla drivers are and how they drive.
According to the data Jerry found, Tesla owners are overwhelmingly male. Eighty-three percent of drivers were men, compared to 49% of drivers for all other vehicles. Tesla owners are also typically younger; around 70% of drivers are 34 or younger, falling primarily into the millennial and gen Z generations.
They also found that Tesla drivers were also more educated on average and earned a higher income. One-third of all Tesla drivers have either a master’s degree or a Ph.D. (compared to 13% of the general population). Additionally, the median household income was $85,000 for the zip codes where Tesla drivers live. Engineers, managers of operations, and software engineers were among the most common occupations.
Overall, researchers found that Tesla owners are less safe on the road than drivers of other vehicle models. When it comes to acceleration safety, Tesla motorists scored worse than 98% of all drivers. They attributed this fact to the new Tesla’s “Insane,” “Ludicrous,” and “Plaid” modes. These modes allow cars to accelerate quickly—but sudden speed bursts lower acceleration safety scores.
Jerry also found that Tesla owners scored below average for speed scores and overall safety. Speed scores look at the driver’s speed relative to the speed limit. However, the lower-than-average scores may not be very significant as Tesla drivers’ average and average top speeds were lower than non-Tesla drivers. The differences in overall safety averages were minimal as well.
The one area where Tesla owners did better than others was the distraction score. This score is based on how frequently drivers handled their smartphones while behind the wheel; the less you use your phone, the higher the score. Drivers were ranked 10th out of the 52 car brands Jerry looked at. This data, however, fails to take into account the 15-inch touchscreen that comes standard in Tesla cars. It’s possible that drivers used their phones less simply because another screen was pulling their attention.
Tesla drivers are exactly who most people believe they are. They’re typically male with higher-than-average education levels and income. They’re often less safe drivers when it comes to accelerating. However, these drivers are better at keeping their hands on the wheel and off their phones. What does it all mean? We’ll let you be the judge.
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