That Dodge Charger you see in traffic may not be just another motorist.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol has added four new unmarked vehicles in Onslow County.

All four are unmarked 2016 Dodge Chargers in black, white, gray, and blue, said Sgt. T.C. Wells with Highway Patrol.

The Chargers are purchased with legislature funds, Wells said, then taken to Elizabethtown where the law enforcement equipment is added in.

The state Highway Patrol public information office did not return calls asking for specifics on funding and prices for the Chargers.

There are benefits for both marked and unmarked law enforcement cars, according to troopers.

On one hand, an unmarked car is going to catch more people texting and driving, more drivers without a seatbelt, and more speeders, Highway Patrol Sgt. D. Olgesby said.

On the other, a trooper is safer when he pulls over someone in a marked car and has bright flashing lights on the top of the car instead of the unmarked dashboard blues and brake-light flashers, he said.

It’s the safety aspect that makes Oglesby a fan of the marked cars.

“When I get out at a wreck I want it lit up like a Christmas tree,” he said.

Safety can be a concern for motorists, too, especially when it comes to unmarked vehicles. How does a driver know if it’s a trooper pulling them over, or an impersonator?

In January 2016, multiple reports of women being pulled over by a black Dodge Charger with flashing lights driven by a man impersonating an officer swept through local social media sites. Adam Richard Carey, 25, of Richlands was arrested in July on charges of impersonating an officer. Carey, who drove a Charger and was allegedly dressed as an officer, according to previous Daily News reports, has a court date scheduled for March 22 on the charge.

Wells said if a trooper is pulling someone, the driver has to pull over quickly. If a service station is near and the driver waits and pulls in there for safety reasons, that’s fine, Wells said. Drivers can also call 9-1-1 to verify that the person pulling them over is, in fact, a cop.

When the officer steps out and comes to the window, Wells said drivers should be able to tell if the person is with Highway Patrol from their attire, and they will have their badge clipped to the left-hand shoulder.

Counties are rotated with unmarked cars, Olgesby said. Each district is allowed unmarked cars and it’s Onslow County’s turn. Last summer, Olgesby said the first unmarked car came in and three more were added between November and January.

Each trooper has a preference for marked or unmarked, he said, and the numbers for citations fluctuate depending on the types of cars being used. When unmarked cars are rotated into the fleet, the numbers increase 5-to-10 percent.

The unmarked cars also help with government programs like Click it or Ticket and Booze It & Lose It, when troopers are logging statistics for speed, seatbelts and impaired driving, he said.

Cars used by troopers get a lot of mileage put on them, Olgesby said, and because of that, are traded in often. Once Highway Patrol is finished with a vehicle, it’s sent back to Raleigh and sold either there or in Elizabethtown, Wells said. He did not know where the money from the sales goes.

Every two-to-three years, troopers are given new cars. The troopers who enjoy driving can log about 200 miles per shift, Olgesby said. Others who prefer a more stationary road presence still log about half of that.

The number of miles per shift also depends on calls, Olgesby said. A trooper could be at a crash in Richlands and get a Sneads Ferry call — and Onslow County averages more than nine crashes per day.

Four troopers are usually working a shift together, and Olgesby said he tries to put more wheels on the roads over the weekends or days expected to have a higher traffic volume.

The goal, Olgesby said, is to change out the cars when they hit 100,000 miles, but some get as high as 170,000 before being traded.

The reason they’re traded is for cost-efficient purposes, Olgesby said.

A car with high mileage needs more attention, more shop visits, and it’s cheaper to trade the cars in for new ones than to pump cash into the used cars, Olgesby said.

While Wells said he was not one of the recipients of the new unmarked cars, he’s not complaining.

“Whatever they provide,” he said, “I’m happy.”