The survey recently issued by Insurance.com claiming that lawyers are the most dangerous drivers would seem to offer a golden opportunity to crack wise about the only profession held in lower esteem than journalists. I am going to resist the temptation to crack wise, however.
Insurance.com's data is based on the numbers of customers requesting a quote from the Web site, hardly a scientific survey. Perhaps these drivers are worse than average and are seeking quotes because their insurance companies are dropping them for being bad drivers. There also is no differentiation between fender-benders and more serious accidents involving injury or death.
Insurance.com is trying to gin up publicity by bad-mouthing lawyers, long seen as the arch-enemy of the insurance companies without having the facts to back up its claims. The company sure does sound sure of itself.
"Attorneys topped the list at No. 1 with 44 percent claiming a prior accident when receiving a car insurance comparison quote from insurance.com. (We bet 44 percent of them talked their way out of a ticket, too.)," Insurance.com says, with tongue firmly in cheek. It insists the study is no joke.
"We looked at quotes from a seven-month period (June to December 2009).The number of quotes compiled in the research was in the tens of thousands. In terms of our data, the occupational designation of attorney/judge is the No. 1 accident-reported to quote-requested occupation," says Tom Tennant, a company spokesman, in an e-mail.
Attorneys specializing in accident cases tell me that their fellow members of the bar tend to be careful drivers. Jeffrey Reiff, founding partner of the Philadelphia firm of Reiff and Bily, tells WalletPop that he has never had a case of a lawyer involved in an accident who was multi-tasking. Lawyers, he says, probably pay low insurance rates because they tend to be good drivers.
"I have never heard of anything like this," Reiff says of the survey. "I find it astounding."
Insurance.com has no idea why lawyers topped the list.
"... we can make the educated guess that it is for the reasons previously stated: stress, when they are on the road, road conditions, number of distractions, propensity to shop for insurance (request quotes)," Tennant says.
Other professions are also maligned by Insurance.com. For reasons that are baffling, dog groomers were rated as the sixth most dangerous profession, edging out marketing/advertising professionals, barbers/stylists (for humans), coaches and nurses. Why dog groomers would be such a menace on the roads is a mystery. Perhaps they're driving with their clients on their laps.
Are lawyers dangerous drivers? Probably not