On March 15, the Raleigh City Council unanimously voted to approve a consent agenda which included a $90,944 budget transfer to cover city vehicles declared a “total loss” due to accidents.
The staff report included on the agenda noted that 29 City vehicles have been declared a “total loss” due to accidents in Fiscal Year 2016, which began in July 2015. This works out to about three City vehicles getting destroyed in accidents every month.
The replacement cost per vehicle, assuming all 29 would be replaced, is rather low at about $3,000.
Data obtained as a result of public records request, however, indicated that a much smaller number of vehicles have been totaled in this fiscal year.
According to the RM Total report, which can be viewed here, only 11 vehicles have been totaled this Fiscal year. Two were from the Public Utilities Department, one was from inspections and the remaining eight were from the Raleigh Police Department.
The report, which dates back to February 2012, indicates that a total of 53 cars have been declared a loss and totaled since that time. 73 percent of the totaled cars came from the Raleigh Police Department.
RPD spokesman Jim Sughrue said the amount of miles put on police vehicles, which are essentially in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, combined with the conditions under which they sometimes be driven, is likely the main reason for this.
“We stress safety at all times,” Sughrue said, noting that any officer-involved accidents are reviewed to determine whether they were avoidable. In many instances, he said, a vehicle may suffer relatively minor damage, but due to the age of and mileage on the car, it is scrapped rather than repaired.
One thing to note is that the recently approved budget request, adjusted for this new data, would bring the average cost per car to about $8,181. It should come as no surprise that according to the RM report, 34 cars, or 64 percent of the total, were sedans. 26 of them were Ford Crown Victorias.
Some of the totaled cars makes may come as a bit of a surprise, however. While two of the other types of sedans totaled were Chevy Impalas and a Dodge Stratus, a Lexus ES350 was declared totaled on May 20, 2015.
More recently, on March 15, 2016 a Toyota Camry Hybrid categorized as a “sedan police non-patrol” was totaled. Drivers who believe themselves safe to speed about hybrid cars may want to rethink their strategy.
The Solid Waste Services laid waste to a total of four vehicles over the four-year period, all of them cranes. Three of those cranes were classified as “Automated Side Loader 28-30 CU YD.” An online classified service for selling side loaders — trash trucks — lists similar models at prices ranging from $55,000 to $220,000.
The Public Utilties Department biggest loss was a 4×4 Chevrolet 2500 Utility Truck that was totaled in October 2013 and finally disposed of in June of 2014.
Two of the 53 cars totaled were classified as Sport Utility Vehicles: a Ford Escape from the Inspections Department, and a Chevy Tahoe from the Police Department.
The remainder of the vehicles were pickup trucks, belonging a variety of departments including Public Utilities, Public Works and Inspections.
The average age of all the cars totaled was nine years. The average life span for a vehicle is typically cited at 8-10 years, indicating that a number of these vehicles may have simply aged out of service rather than being involved in an accident as reported in the Council Agenda. This appears to confirm Sughrue’s statement regarding the decision to scrap rather than repair depending on the age of a car.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the stats on the vehicles totaled since February 2012.
- 34 Sedans were totaled
- 26 of those were Crown Vics
- Misc. Sedans: 1 Accura TL, 3 Chevy Impalas, 1 Dodge Stratus, 1 Lexus ES350m 1 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1 Toyota Camry Hybrid
- 2 Sport Utility Vehicles: a Ford Escape and a Chevy Tahoe
- 9 Compact Pickup Trucks: 4 Chevy Colorados 4 Ford Ranger 4×2’s and a Ford Ranger 4×4
- 3 Full-size Pickup Trucks: A Chevy 1500, a Chevy 2500 and a Dodge 1500
- 1 Chevy 4×4 Utility Truck
- 4 Trash Trucks
- 35 RPD vehicles
- 7 Public Utilities vehicles
- 3 Public Works vehicles
- 3 Inspections vehicles
- 1 Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources vehicle