The Fire Department in New York City thinks the taxpayers should no longer be the only ones paying when firefighters are called to the scene of a car crash. Starting next summer, the FDNY will begin billing their time to the motorists involved in the incidents.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a vehicle fire or any other incident with injuries will cost $490. A vehicle fire without injuries will cost $415. And incidents without fire or injuries will cost $365. The FDNY responded to around 14,000 accidents last year.
“We want to relieve pressure on the taxpayer and place it on those at fault and their insurance,” said a spokesman for the FDNY. “Right now if you’re at fault at an accident or a vehicle fire, you get a free ride. And that should not be borne by the taxpayers.”
The invoices will be sent directly to the driver, who can then choose to pass it on to their insurance company.
While the so-called “crash tax” will add millions of dollars to the city’s strained coffers, some fear that it could also cause insurance rates to rise.
The president of the New York Insurance Association calls what the FDNY is doing “double billing”:
If the police show up at your house for a domestic violence dispute or a break-in, are they going to send you a bill? Those are services that are typically covered when you pay your taxes.
Meanwhile, the AAA says the FDNY’s plan is “short-sighted.”
“We have concerns that some motorists might be less likely to call police to crash scenes, allowing drunk drivers, uninsured drivers, drivers with suspended licenses, and others to go undetected,” said a rep for the organization.