San Francisco May Equip Police Cars with Telematics

Photo via Flickr/D.C.Atty

San Francisco may soon be adding telematics to its police vehicles, which were previously exempt from a 2016 legislation requiring telematics on city vehicles.

The administrative code exempted vehicles from the Police Department, Sheriff’s Department, Adult Probation Department, Juvenile Probation Department, and vehicles used by the District Attorney’s Office and the City Attorney’s Office for investigations. This new ordinance requires that telematics be installed in all vehicles currently exempt, according to documents from a Government Audit and Oversight Committee meeting. Departments can apply for a waiver from the city administrator.

There are currently 1,732 vehicles that do not have telematics installed but should if the ordinance is passed by the Board of Supervisors. The cost to add telematics to these vehicles is up to $370,400, with ongoing annual subscription cost to be up to $460,000.

As of February 2018, the city has telematics devices installed on 4,163 vehicles, or 54% of the total fleet. Board President Norman Yee said he introduced the 2016 ordinance after noticing the amount the city paid in lawsuits, the San Francisco Examiner reported. A 2015 report stated that over five years, the city paid $76.9 million settlements and judgements from claims and litigation relating to its vehicles, and that the presence of telematics systems could enourage drivers to be more attentive and for mangers to identify and correct unsafe driving habits. 

The City Administrator’s Office, which tracks the city fleet, noted the city retired 67 underutilized vehicle in 2018 and reduced speeding by two-thirds due to telematics, SFBay reported.

The Government Audit and Oversight Committee approved the proposal with positive recommendation to the full board, which will vote on the legislation on June 18.

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