Oregon Car Care program will not expand into Keizer

Salem Police Department recently announced they were participating in the Oregon State Police (OSP) -managed Oregon Car Care program, in which motorists would receive help toward fixing an equipment problem rather than being fined for a violation.

Keizer’s situation is considerably different, according to Lt. Trevor Wenning, so the city has no current plans to participate.

“We have the Keizer Municipal Court Vehicle Compliance Program,” he said. “There is an administrative fee of $40, but if you get a citation in Keizer for a correctible equipment violation, and you go get it fixed before your court date, the judge will dismiss it completely – there will be no fine and it won’t ever even hit your driving record.”

Wenning said the leadership at the police department agreed this was more effective than the Car Care program at the scale of a city like Keizer. The administrative burden alone would make it difficult to comply with the program requirements, since each citation has to get forwarded to OSP, approved for a voucher, and then returned and tracked by the officer who issued the citation.

Additionally, he said there is only one auto-care vendor in Keizer which can offer the full spectrum of equipment replacement parts, and there was concern the department shouldn’t show favoritism toward any specific local business over another.

Wenning said he did some personal research on pricing equipment replacement parts for the most common local violations and doesn’t think the voucher program would be cost-effective.

He said Keizer police focuses more on equipment failures which can cause a hazard, and with the low number of equipment violations each year, the current program in Keizer is more effective at helping keep the costs down for motorists than a labor and cost-intensive state-wide voucher program.

“We had a total of 62 equipment violation citations last year, all of them were correctible, and 53 of those involved vehicle lighting,” he said. “It’s a lot cheaper to just get a bulb replaced and utilize our program.”