Skip to main content

Study: Tesla drivers are exactly who you think they are

Tesla owners may just deserve some of the hate they get, according to the study

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.

White Tesla in front of a lush green mountain range
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Who are Tesla owners?

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.

person using the touch screen feature while driving a Tesla
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Less safe, but less distracted

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Shannon Cooper
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Shannon Cooper has written about everything from pet care and travel to finance and plumbing in her seven years as a writer…
Movie trailer: New Ferrari movie with Adam Driver and Penelope Cruz is a glossy homage to car maker’s history
Driver is Enzo Ferrari - pun intended?
Adam Driver Ferrari Movie image

Regarding motoring legends, there are fewer more prominent names than Enzo Ferrari. The Prancing Horse's founder was born in Modena, a city he would later choose as the site for his legendary vehicle manufacturer's factory. Being a key name in automotive history, Ferrari and the company he founded are no strangers to the big screen. Now Ferrari is on screen again, portrayed by Adam Driver of "Star Wars" fame, in a biopic creatively titled "Ferrari."

Michael Mann directs the movie, and Penelope Cruz stars alongside Driver as Enzo's wife Laura. Although he may be closely associated with angst in space, Driver is no stranger to profound, dramatic roles. He's also familiar with portraying Italian cultural icons, including a recent performance as Maurizio Gucci in 2021. Cruz has a similar experience, having played Gianni Versace's sister, Donatella Versace, in "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story."

Read more
These are the best hybrid trucks you can get right now
The complete guide to today's hybrid trucks
Ford F-150 blue front 3/4 view

If the world of pickup trucks has felt a little confusing as of late with gas engines, electric motors, and hybrid powertrains, don't worry, you're not alone, and we're here to help. Gas engines are what we're all used to. Fully electric vehicles like the Rivian R1T, GMC Hummer EV, and Ford F-150 Lightning are all fully electric trucks that have no gas-powered components whatsoever.

Hybrids are where all the fun begins. As the name suggests, hybrid motors are just that, a combination of both gas and electric power. Typically, the gas engine is the primary source of power, while the electric motor provides a boost and, at times, the ability to run completely on electricity. Mild hybrid systems utilize smaller electric motors that are more complementary and can't power the vehicle on their own.

Read more
This AAA change is great news for electric vehicle drivers with range anxiety
AAA and Blink partner to increase EV assistance across the U.S.
ev charging in sunny weather

We've all been there. Heading down the highway, radio on, focused on your destination and the rest of the day to come and bang! Suddenly, your tire starts flapping, and the steering wheel is rumbling and shaking in your hands as you struggle to fight it to the shoulder without getting demolished along the way. Once you get the car to the side of the road, survey the damage, and calm yourself down, it's time to get to work and grab the spare tire. That's when you open the trunk and find the spare tire is flat. At this moment, you either commend yourself for signing up for that AAA membership or begin an expletive-ridden tirade for not signing up when you had the chance.

Until recently, despite a plethora of high-end, exciting luxury EVs, this issue was one of the biggest fears of motorists regarding unforeseen issues when it comes to driving. But in the new electric world, a growing fear that is so prevalent that it actually dissuades many potential buyers from going electric is something called "range anxiety," which is the concern that their battery-operated auto will die before a charging station is even in sight. But, thankfully, AAA is once again here to save the day thanks to a new partnership with charging station manufacturer Blink.
AAA and Blink are charging ahead to help more drivers
Building off of their initial collaboration in 2019 when AAA signed on to use Blink's first-gen Mobile Charger, the new program is set to begin by allowing 19 AAA clubs and affiliates access to Blink's expanding EV charging stations across the country, totaling more than 60,000 locations. This agreement entitles AAA access to a discount on pricing and a simplified ordering process for those cheaper units. Chief Revenue Officer for Blink Charging said of their collaboration with AAA, "We are thrilled to cooperate with AAA, enabling clubs and service providers to build a robust EV charging infrastructure using Blink's extensive line of products and solutions."

Read more