Safety & Accident

San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s 100K-Mile Vehicles to be Replaced

November 25, 2009

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA - The Board of Supervisors is being asked to declare five San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department 2006 Crown Victorias surplus because they each have logged 100,000 miles and are three years old, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

The three-year life span for the cars is a change from earlier in the decade, when they were "turned over" every two years, Sheriff Pat Hedges told The Tribune. "Three or four years ago we determined that by adding two or three cars to the fleet and by tracking the mileage on each car closely, we could, and did, extend the depreciation out to three years," Hedges said.

Hedges said the sheriff's 38 patrol vehicles are driven hard, with many idling in order to "support the electrical consumption of the headlights and overhead lights that are on during traffic stops or when used to warn motorists of other situations."

Janette Pell of the General Services Department said in an e-mail to The Tribune that the 100,000-mile guideline is based on maintenance cost, reliability, declining resale value, major component failure, and other factors. She added that with emergency response vehicles or cars that might engage in pursuits, the county has to think about "safety and the potential for a costly liability suit due to operating an aging vehicle in a high speed pursuit/condition."

She said the county will replace them and collect $4,000-$5,000 for each surplus vehicle.

In her staff report to the Board of Supervisors, Pell wrote that in general the county sets a vehicle's life expectancy at eight years or 100,000 miles. Replacement is not automatic, she added, but depends on the vehicle's condition. Asked whether the 100,000-mile standard is higher than in the private sector, Pell said, "Very few private individuals wait longer than 100,000 miles."

The other 18 cars include two with failed transmissions, and three 2001 Dodge Neons for the Social Services Department that were replaced last summer, reported The Tribune.


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