A new report from the US has suggested that our propensity for speed is related to the type of vehicle we drive - and while large vehicles may be bad for the environment, they make for safer drivers.

American auto insurance analyst Quality Planning looked at traffic code violations for a period of one year to determine which vehicles were most likely to be involved, and confirmed for the second year running that SUVs and hatchbacks showed lower violations on average than traditional two- and four-door vehicles.

The ten cars most likely to break the law were topped by the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, predominantly driven by females with an average age of 53.

The next two cars most seen in traffic violations were the Toyota Camry-Solar and Scion TC (also made by Toyota), both more likely to be driven by women with an average age of 50 years and 30 years respectively.

In fact, the study found that only three vehicles with the highest percentage of violations were more likely to be driven by men - the Hummer H2/H3, the Mercedes-Benz CLS-63 AMG and the Acura Integra.

By comparison, the vehicles Quality Planning defined as cautious were likely to be larger, with eight out of the top ten either an SUV or minivan - suggesting that carrying passengers, possibly younger passengers, makes a noticeable difference to how one drives.

The Buick Rainier SUV was the vehicle least likely to be featured in a violation, followed by the Mazda Tribute SUV and the Chevrolet C/K - 3500/2500 pickup.

America's most "Spirited Vehicles" (vehicles with highest percentage of violations)

1. Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
2. Toyota Camry-Solar
3. Scion TC
4. Hummer H2/H3
5. Scion XB
6. Mercedes-Benz CLS-63 AMG
7. Acura Integra
8. Pontiac Grand Prix 
9. Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG
10. Volkswagen GTI

Data from Quality Planning http://www.qualityplanning.com

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