SIOUX FALLS, SD -
South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers are getting double-takes over the new vehicles they're driving. Money is fueling this metallic makeover.
Everyone's familiar with the traditional white vehicles driven by highway patrol troopers since the early 1990's. But now comes a new color, all for the sake of boosting the cars' trade-in value.
Move over plain white; the new "titanium metallic" is merging into the fleet of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. The state is switching to these pewter-colored vehicles because they fetch more money when it comes time to replacing them.
"We get the most out of the vehicles if we use colored cars. It doesn't cost any more to purchase the cars already a different color, but yet the resale value when we're done with them is quite a bit better," Lt. Alan Welsh of the South Dakota Highway Patrol said.
The traditional white highway patrol vehicles have been on the road for nearly twenty years. So the change is sure to draw attention from the public. At first glance, some people have mistaken the new cars for similarly-colored vehicles of the Minnesota state patrol.
"If you've lived within the state for a lot of years and you see the same cars over the years and then all of a sudden you see one that's a different color, I suppose people take notice," Welsh said.
Welsh has had to reassure drivers that the new vehicles are not an attempt to trick them into a ticket.
"I've had people comment, you stop at a restaurant and people have said, 'Oh, you're trying to be sneaky.' That's not the case at all," Welsh said.
Welsh says if anything, the new color will be more noticeable to drivers who've been used to seeing white all these years. To highway patrol troopers, the mission of enforcing safety on the roads remains the same, regardless of the color scheme.
The newly-colored vehicles will be added to the highway patrol's fleet once each old white one is replaced, roughly every 125,000 miles.
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