FDNY To Begin Charging Motorists In Car Crashes

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.

City to Bill Motorists Who Crash and Need Aid [WSJ]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Alvis says:

    An accident is not necessarily caused by the driver of a car involved. If a crash is put into motion by a pothole or something, does the bill go back to the city?

    • Gramin says:

      In Chicago, yes. If damage to your car is caused by a pothole, you can send a bill to the city.

      • stock2mal says:

        Which they will promptly deny if you cannot prove that the pothole had been reported previously.

        • Kate says:

          They don’t know which potholes had been reported themselves? Are they keeping that a secret?

          • humphrmi says:

            If they knew, they’d probably keep it a secret. As it is, having a horrible administration system keeps things secret enough.

        • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

          What does being reported previously have to do with their culpability?

          • dpeters11 says:

            In my area, they’re only responsible if they were negligent. They’ll only pay if it was previously reported and not fixed in a reasonable amount of time (by their definition I’m sure.)

    • synimatik says:

      More to that point, in many states hitting something like a deer is considered ‘an act of God’ and therefore the driver is not at fault. Does god get that bill?

  2. TasteyCat says:

    I thought my tax dollars were supposed to provide me benefits such as police and fire protection. Guess not. So where’s it all being wasted then?

    Anyway, where can I signup for this plan whereby you drive to the scene of an accident, do nothing, and make $365?

    • Peer to Peer Nachos says:

      That would be communism and we wouldn’t want that!

      • denros says:

        ahhh ha….

        but yeah, seriously, people clamoring vaguely about “SMALLER GUBM’NT” don’t really seem to be pointing out any specific examples of how to obtain that; therefore, I’d fully expect that we start seeing more of this kind of thing. We elected a lot of GOP and teapartiers that made a lot of promises about shrinking the government, but did not appear to have anything specifically in mind. It might sound trite, but this is probably going to be a big case of “be careful what you wish for”

        *yes, there may not be any one political party to blame in this instance, but it should still serve as a cautionary tale.

        • evnmorlo says:

          Union-supported Democrats favor limited services too. Fewer hours, more employees, less work, and more pay. Increasing expenditures infinitely does not contradict reducing services to nothing.

        • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

          Why do we have this annoying meme where people feel the need to type out stupid-looking supposed redneck speak? Is anyone else sick to farking death of that? It looks completely retarded. And yes I used that word.

    • kc2idf says:

      Well, realistically, by doing this in this way, they recover the cost of all of the folks who don’t live in The City, and therefore don’t pay city taxes. This also puts the cost on those who need the services.

      As for basic fire protection, it looks like this doesn’t change that. If you own a building (in which case you pay taxes), then you get protection for your taxes.

      I should point out that ambulance service works on this principle in many places (including the City of Schenectady, where I live), so it is a logical and actually workable model.

      • frank64 says:

        I think if they are traveling in a city, they are paying taxes someway. Supporting a business that pays taxes, working at a place that pays taxes, paying hotel and restaurant taxes and going to the airport and paying those taxes. Parking fines too! People that don’t live in a city always get the dead beat label and I never agreed with it. Cities have more fiscal problems because they have more poor people. The visitors don’t normally use these services, but the business they support pay for them.

      • spamtasticus says:

        Your city does not have a sales tax?

  3. ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

    Fuckery. Pure fuckery. This is what happens when we have discussions about taxes that aren’t conducted maturely and based on the premise that all taxes are horrendous tyranny.

    • kc2idf says:

      If we assume that all taxes are tremendous tyranny, then we must abolish all taxes and replace them with fees . . . kind of like the $450ish fees that FDNY charges for car accidents.

      Sorry, try again.

      • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

        Syntactic ambiguity.

        If you read the sentence again without the independent middle clause: “This is what happens when we have discussions about taxes … based on the premise that all taxes are horrendous tyranny.”

        I admit the way I structured the sentence was confusing, but it’s what I was trying to say.

  4. Tim says:

    Ehh. I think I agree with this, for the most part. If it wasn’t your fault, make a claim against the person whose fault it was … just like with any other bills associated with the incident (medical bills, car repair, etc.).

    I, as a taxpayer, shouldn’t have to pay for the stupid decisions of someone else.

    • c152driver says:

      Except you already are, through the taxes you pay. As the article noted, this is essentially double dipping by the city. Bill the taxpayers AND the motorist.

      • Kate says:

        Taxpayers are not sent itemized bills for specific incidents, nor are they on a contract for specific services. They already bill people who get lost in the forest and someone goes out to find them.

    • kabamm says:

      Yeah, sure. Somehow I don’t think I’m going to like this whole a-la-carte civilization concept.

    • Southern says:

      So do you think the taxes that you ALREADY PAY for Fire & Police protection will go DOWN due to this?


      Just another money grab from a cash-strapped city.

    • humphrmi says:

      Do you seriously think your taxes are going to go down (or go up less) because they start charging per-call?

    • jtheletter says:

      Did you have a house fire last year that the FD responded to? No?

      Then you must have received your tax rebate covering your portion of FD taxes that weren’t used right?

      No? Hm, well there were other fires in your town, some of them probably caused by people making stupid decisions like kitchen grease fires or falling asleep with a lit cigarette, and the FD probably put those fires out.

      Oh no! Your tax dollars are going to pay for the stupid mistakes of others after all!

      Seriously though, this is how public services work. Everyone pays in a little, and if you need to use the service it is there for you, if not then you don’t get your taxes back or get to charge more to those who did use the services.

      • Gruppa says:


        /seriously guys, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

      • Firethorn says:

        Oh no! Your tax dollars are going to pay for the stupid mistakes of others after all!

        That’s where the a good chunck of our tax dollars go, I think. Fire? Most often started by stupid decisions. Police? Criminality is generally stupid. Highway? If people drove right we wouldn’t need as much maintenance/road signs/etc…

        In any case, Fire departments became communal for a number of reasons – back before fire codes became common, your neighbor’s fire was a extreme risk to your building as well.

        As a libertarian I think that a private service could work, but as a matter of practicality we need good fire suppression, so I view it a bit like vehicle taxes – just as you need insurance to drive on the roads, if you own property you need to pay a bit to protect it and the surrounding area from fire.

  5. Hi_Hello says:

    i think this is awesome. insurance will rise, but if you don’t get into an accident the rate will drop.. it’s the same now with or without the bill.

    and why would motorist not at fault avoid calling the police? drunk driver hit you, you call, you’re not at fault, you don’t get a bill.

    uninsured driver normally drive away from a scene anyway.

    driver with suspends licenses avoid the cops too…

    these things won’t change because the firefighter are giving them a bill.

    I didn’t read the article though…

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      If you think your insurance doesn’t go up when the company’s overall costs go up you’re an idiot.

      Case in point – my area had bad hail damage throughout the city last year. I was informed by my insurance agent that costs for home-owner’s insurance will go up for everyone. And I own a townhome where the roof and exterior parts of the building aren’t even covered by my insurance, they are covered by the HOA. So in no way would I ever make a claim for hail damage, and yet my insurance was going up because of hail damage.

      • teke367 says:

        That’s a little differnt. With the autos, it will be easier for insurers to spread the cost to those more responsible. In your case, there is already factors taken into account for base rates between homes, condos, etc. Even though you won’t be making claims on the roof, some condo associations require you to pay part of their deductible, which may be covered by your insurance.

        Odds are, I don’t see these bills being passed to insurance carriers that much though. If policies are written in a way where the deductible would apply, most likely the deductible will be higher than the bill. Even if the deductible would apply, chances are an agent would advise their client to pay out of pocket because the claim will proabbly cost them more than $400 in the long run.

        How long after the hail did your insurance premiums go up? Usually (depending on the state) insurance companies need to get their rate increases approved. If it was that close to the storm, there’s a chance it was just strange timing.

    • chucklebuck says:

      The article though implies that everyone in the accident, at fault or not, is going to get this bill. So imagine the scenario where there’s a hit & run, the driver doing the hitting speeds away, the person hit is unable to. Fire department comes, rescues the person and leaves that person a $465 invoice.

      Then also imagine that this person IS a taxpayer who thought he or she had already paid for this service.

  6. Snoofin says:

    Good, Maybe more people will pay attention to the road instead of their phones, eating, putting on makeup etc… Im sick of being late to work because of idiots causing accidents. 95% of accidents are avoidable if people would drive with sense and pay attention. If the accident was caused by a malfunction in the car or an act of nature such as a tree falling then they shouldnt have to pay. But if someone causes an accident due to negligence, they should pay for every penny of the cost to clean up the accident. Yes, Ive never had an accident in 30 years of driving.

    • Jaynor says:

      This sounds like a great idea! All we need is an infallible arbiter of what’s negligent… one who’s in the car with each driver (to see if they were maybe looking at their nails instead of the road rather than avoiding a squirrel)….

      Great idea!

    • Wawa says:

      Accident fault is already a factor in setting everybody’s auto insurance rates.

      It’s moronic that we use the same principle for paying for public safety. It’s not as if you don’t use it you’ll get a rebate back from the city/town where you live.

    • darcmosch says:

      Hope you knocked on wood after saying that ;)

  7. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    This is why ridonkulous tax cuts are bad, mmkay?

    • spamtasticus says:

      This is why dropping out of english class is bad. Ok?

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        Oh for heaven’s sake, say it out loud. I am completely capable of spelling ridiculous properly but chose not to because it sounded better. L2 Internet, plox.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        Oh for heaven’s sake, say it out loud. I am completely capable of spelling ridiculous properly but chose not to because it sounded better. L2 Internet, plox.

    • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

      Yeah, NY’s budget problems are 100% the fault of taxes being too low. There is absolutely, positively, no element of corruption, cronyism or mismanagement.

  8. BradC says:

    So, are they going to stop accepting tax dollars to run the fire department? Will someone be allowed to create a new fire department to compete with the existing one? Can I pick the fire department that responds when I place my 911 call?

    • synimatik says:

      Your line of thought is simliar to mine. I was actually wondering if there were multiple incidents, would the fire department choose to ignore or leave one prematurely for one that would provide more monetary gain? I know it’s a BS question, but one can see where this is going to go horribly wrong.

  9. Bob Lu says:

    My understanding is that you will be billed only if you are at fault? It sounds fair enough for me.

    However who is to judge whether you are at fault or not, that’s the question.

    • Gramin says:

      The police usually do that quite easily.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      no, it’s pretty clear:

      “But according to the rules proposed by the FDNY, the department will bill the “motorist to whom motorist services are provided.”

      Mr. Ritea confirmed that the motorist—whether that person is at fault or not—will receive the bill. The bill from the FDNY will include instructions informing motorists that they can refer the bill to their insurance company, he said.”

      • Firethorn says:

        This creates another question – what if they’re called out and I DON’T need them? Am I allowed to refuse service and the bill?

  10. Underpants Gnome says:

    “And incidents without fire or injuries will cost $365. ”

    Maybe another money saving measure would be to not send a squad of firefighters out to an incident that doesn’t have any fire or injuries…

    • Gramin says:

      Firefighters respond to any vehicular accident that’s not a simple fender bender. They have trained paramedics that can usually respond (arrive at the scene) significantly faster than an ambulance. And they have the jaws of life… and other equipment to combat adverse conditions that arise from car accidents.

      • Rachacha says:

        True, but if the people who called 911 shared details of the accident, a decision could be made on who to send. I have been the first to arrive at the scene of a couple of accidents, and when I call 911 I immediately start walking to the vehicles involved in the accident to do a quick assesment of the condition and number of people in the vehicles. By advising the 911 operator that you have a van full of kids, each bleeding or complaining that their neck hurts, dispatch can send the appropriate number of ambulances and paramedics. By telling the 911 dispatcher that the doors of the vehicle are stuck shut, but the passengers are able to move their feet and legs, they can send a small rescue crew or at least relay that information to emergency responders so they can begin to plan on their way to the accident.

      • MrEvil says:

        Unless the Ambulances are dispatched from the same place as the fire trucks. That’s how its done here in the Austin area. Austin fire-rescue, Travis County fire/EMS, and Williamson county Fire/EMS. The ambulance will get to an accident scene just as fast as the fire truck will.

  11. mbgrabbe says:

    This should have been done decades ago. If you use the government’s services, you pay for them. Those of us who don’t drive or drive safely shouldn’t have to pay as much for crash response & cleanup.

    • Pooterfish says:

      Let me know when the public school refunds money to taxpayers who don’t have kids there.

    • Ahardy55 says:

      Yeah, this does make sense. Since I personally don’t have much use for national parks (I don’t live near any of them), the Iraq War (I was aggin it!), corporate welfare, roads in general since I live in NYC and just take the subway, ect, I don’t see why I’m paying the same tax rate for them as anyone else. If I want the police to stop me from getting mugged, I damn well better have the cash to pay the police!

  12. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i could, if i squint really hard and turn my head at an angle, almost see the logic behind billing an at fault driver. and that’s having lived in a state where the person who is in the back of a 6 car pileup is automatically considered at fault [i was the third car back and the front one stopped in an intersection, it was automatically my fault that the car in front of me hit her and then i hit him]
    but this says they are going to bill every driver there. so …. somebody gets hit by a drunk driver, loses most of their family in the crash and then also gets a huge bill? that’s a recipe for someone suing for emotional damages. which seems like it would cost the city more that they would make off charging for crashes

    • gaya2081 says:

      I was the middle man in a 3 car pile-up. I stopped and the guy behind me hit me hard enough to slam me into the car in front of me. I ended up with the most vehicle damage, guy in the back was obviously at fault-he wasn’t paying attention per his own words-it was election night and he was thinking about who he was going to vote for

      It is hard to justify fault in those accidents. They kept asking the first guy if he felt 1 or 2 bumps (he said 1). I don’t know how they would have handled it had I hit the guy in front of me and the guy behind me hit me….

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        i was a little more than usually perturbed by the fact that the guy in front of me didn’t get ticketed for the beer he spilled on himself when his pickup hit the buick. my little celica couldn’t see over the pickup to know the buick stopped in the intersection and he wasn’t looking because he was opening his beer. since he was just WEARING it and never got any in his mouth, he didn’t even get ticketed for distracted driving. but i got nailed by the technical aspect of the law in florida: last car loses

  13. AI says:

    In other news, the classy city of NY has added a sidewalk tax. Anybody using the sidewalk will be billed at the rate of $12.75 per square.

  14. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Here’s what happens when we start down this slippery slope:

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      That’s slightly different. The homeowner in that situation lived in an unincorporated area of a county that did not have fire service. They had to pay $75 a year to a neighboring city in order to get fire fighting services, and they did not pay.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        The point being… The firefighters watched it BURN TO THE GROUND, rather than do something. If we move to this model of services, whats next? You, bleeding to death, while the firefighters rifle your wallet to see if you can pay for the Jaws of life?

        • wrjohnston91283 says:

          From what I’ve read, in most of these areas where there is paid fire service, the fire department will step in if someone’s life is at risk, but if everyone’s outside, they won’t risk their lives putting out the fire of a non-subscriber.

        • SteakNeggs says:

          There was no life at risk, so why would the fire department risk theirs to put out a fire that has more then likely already caused the structure to be a total loss when there is no payment being made?

          From what I remember this has happened to this person before and they did put it out..

          The problem is, if they made an exception when there is no risk to life, then why would anyone else pay the fee?

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        That’s the next step. “Ooh, what’s the plate on that Carbecue? Yeah, those guys are deadbeats. They already owe us $500. They can put their own fire out until they settle their tab.”

        • secret_curse says:

          Why should they have put the fire out? There weren’t any lives in danger. If they would’ve put out that deadbeat’s house, it would’ve set an awful precedent. Everyone else in the area would stop paying the yearly fee and expect the fire service to respond for $75 if their house caught on fire. It costs a hell of a lot more than $75 to put out a fire, so the system would collapse and nobody would have fire protection.

          • Firethorn says:

            ‘Environmental Pollution’ is the only thing I can think of.

            The problem is, if they made an exception when there is no risk to life, then why would anyone else pay the fee?

            Bingo. I remember that incident – even with a volunteer department it’s likely that the cost of fighting said fire would have exceeded the cost of his house. There’s other issues like insurance(for the FD), safety for the fighters, etc…

            The FD needs that $75 per house to keep itself in existence whie providing fire service to the extra areas.

  15. Big Mama Pain says:

    Wow, NY is one of the last places in the country I’d have guessed to turn Libertarian.

  16. Sparty999 says:

    Maybe they need to be more selective on which accidents they deploy firetrucks to! It makes me laugh when you have a 60 foot truck 3 cops and an ambulance at a fender-bender.

    • MercuryPDX says:

      I’m sure if there was some way to determine the need for a fire, police, ambulance, etc. based on just a phone call, they would. They’re not going to take the word of a witness/bystander as to how serious (or not) an accident is.

  17. MuffinSangria says:

    What happens if a bystander calls 911? Say there is small fender bender and some person calls 911 thinking the accident is worse than it is. Would the person at fault in the accident still be billed?

    Off topic, why in the world is it called the New York Fire Department but abbreviate FDNY? Bugs me every time I see that, makes them look dyslexic.

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      It’s just what the fire commissioner decided to call it when it went from Metropolitan Fire Dept. to an all merged boroughs on. “Fire Dept. of the City of New York”.

    • drkkgt says:

      That’s what I was wondering. I could just see “concerned citizens” (ie pranksters) calling the FD for all sorts of things, even simple accidents that barely leave marks on the vehicle. So who gets the bill then?

    • evnmorlo says:

      Whoever makes the call should be charged. SNITCHES GET STITCHES

    • gparlett says:

      This is exactly, 100%, my concern. The bill should go to the person who called 911. I’ve been involved in crashes where firetrucks and ambulances were deployed and no one was hurt and none of the drivers ever called 911. Just someone being ‘neighborly’ instead of minding their own business.

  18. sheldonmoon69 says:

    How about just enforcing the traffic violation laws for the at-fault drivers and then upping the penalty?

    • KlueBat says:

      That was my thought too! I know in many cases, if not most or all, when a person is at fault in an accident there is usually some sort of citation that goes along with it. For example, tailgating, running a light, ect. In more extreme cases there can be criminal charges such as DUI or reckless driving. To me it makes more sense to boost your emergency services budget from the fines already being collected from these existing offenses.

  19. Mphone says:

    Part of me agrees. Part of me doesn’t.

    I know locally(Northeast Oklahoma) When he have floods during the spring/fall you will get a bill if you decide to drive through a blocked off flooded road and have to be rescued.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      See, now that I can understand. I live in Southwest Missouri and there are numerous warnings that time of year “do not drive through low water crossings, flood waters, etc.” If you’re stupid enough to do it and you live, damn straight you should get billed.

  20. inelegy says:

    That’s cool because in 2011 I’m instituting a Remain At The Scene Of An Accident fee that will be billed to any responding agency that will recoup my losses for being a conscientious, tax-paying citizen.

  21. zentec says:

    Does this make New Yorkers freeloaders when they (unfortunately have to) use the services of fire departments of other cities, towns and municipalities that don’t charge?

  22. IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

    Well who determines who is at fault? I live in Illinois and I don’t know if this is the same everywhere, but insurance companies can find fault on both parties. I think it’s called defensive negligence or something… I could hit someone it may look like my fault, but if the other driver was speeding or not paying attention himself, then we are both partly to blame. This isn’t up to the police, but the insurance companies. And this can take years to determine in some cases and for insurance to pay on.
    This is a government service which we pay taxes for already. There is something that just doesn’t feel right about this kind of proposal. Yes people need to be safer on the road, but this will cause insurance rates to go up even for those not at fault.

  23. TooManyHobbies says:

    Of course it will raise insurance, but that is OK.

    Someone’s paying for it now. Someone will be paying for it then. This way is probably fairer – there are a lot of people in NYC that don’t even drive, but right now they’re paying for calls. This way it’ll be distributed among people who drive (by raising insurance). People who drive will be paying more than they do now, and people who don’t will be paying less (or have a smaller tax increase, probably).

    There’s not a thing wrong with this. US taxpayers already foot the bill for far too many externalities of car culture, in order to keep alive the illusion of cars being cheaper than they actually are to own and operate.

    • Bourque77 says:

      Do you seriously think the tax bills will be adjusted lower since the driver is being billed? Taxes will stay the same as they are now and you get to pay more for car insurance to cover these new fees. I’ll go out on a limb and say everyone in ny will see higher insurance rates accidents or not. The government and insurances companies arent known for looking out for the little person for a reason.

    • Southern says:

      The same people that pay for it NOW (the taxpayers) will continue to pay for it too.. It’s just that in addition to using tax money to fund the FD, they’re *also* going to bill the person who uses the service.

      It sounds like they’re going to try and run it like a private ambulance service. If an ambulance is called to the scene (by the police), and you refuse to travel, the ambulance company is STILL going to charge you (albeit it not as much)..

      IMO, this is almost exactly like libraries charging to borrow a book. My tax dollars already pay for the library, whether I use it or not, but since there’s not enough tax money going to the libraries, they’re having to reduce staff, reduce their hours, etc.. Let’s just start charging people to borrow books, and use that money to bolster the libraries revenue.

      School taxes would be another example – everyone pays school taxes, regardless of whether they have children or not – but people that DO have school-aged children, let’s start charging them MORE..

      It’s a pretty slippery slope once you start charging for stuff that you’re already supposed to be collecting taxes to pay for.

      • Gulliver says:

        I’d suggest that since I do not use the military and do not want it, I want that portion of my taxes sent back to me. When there is a war we should bill those that want to invade another country. Those that do not, do not have to pay. I also have not used the police in over 5 years. I want my money back. Just because your house was robbed is not my concern. YOU need to pay that cop for responding. Oh and if your daughter got raped doing a DNA test will be expensive, be prepared to pay more.

        • Putaro says:

          No, no, no. If we invade another country we should make THEM pay for it. It’s their bad actions that caused us to invade them, right? Wasn’t that how Iraq was supposed to work out?

  24. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Mm hm. Reason number 1,245,678 not to live in New York.

    So…will this apply to government workers / elected officials, or just the common folk?

  25. cupcake_ninja says:

    Hmm…wonder if the FDNY is in cohorts with the accident causing squirrels from the Geico commercials…

  26. Suburban Idiot says:

    What an awesome idea. We’ll just cut taxes to zero and only people who use the various services will pay for them as they use them.

    Be sure and have your credit card ready when you call 9-11.

  27. BorkBorkBork says:

    Here’s an idea. Since you’re getting taxed AND paying a bill, I should start a fire department that competes with FDNY.

    And I’ll only charge $250 to respond to your accident. :)

    • mister_roboto says:

      No- that’s how it was historically. FDNY were originally “fire clubs” where diff stations would compete and rush out to fires before another team, and if they got there are the same time- would argue and haggle with the owner with the building burning to the ground. The city said enough to that, and made it a service.

      I’d rather have a government service put out my fire than a company trying to make a buck.

  28. Sunflower1970 says:

    “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.”

    No, not exactly. If it’s your fault, your insurance pays whatever bill there is of the victim, and your own, then your insurance goes up so no, there is no free ride.

    If the person who caused the accident doesn’t have the money to pay this new accident tax, then what are they going to do to the person? If they arrest them, they won’t get the money anyway. If the person moves away or isn’t a resident of NY, then how will they get their money?

  29. flyingember says:

    aren’t they funded by taxes?

  30. stevied says:

    Need $ to do your job correctly ? Then raise the farking taxes.

    Oh, that is right, it is farking harder to raise the farking taxes because the public gets to check the math than just slapping on a farking fee.

  31. SteakNeggs says:

    Cost Recovery is nothing new, but leave it to FDNY to create havoc..

    The “right” way to do it is to bill non-residents and industry. If your department is sitting on a road blocking a downed power pole, the utility company should pay their hours and equipment for the time that it takes them to arrive.

    If a semi over turns and the department uses a ton of absorb-all ($$) the company should pay for it.

    If you are just passing through and your car catches fire, or you cause an accident, your insurance should pay for it since your tax dollars have not.

  32. u1itn0w2day says:

    If they’re going to start billing lets get rid of them all together. What the heck I want a choice if I’m going to be billed. And no more tax dollars to FDNY. I’d rather give them or the newly formed competing capitalist fire company a charitable donation.

    Not only is this forking the motorists this will cause insurance battles and rate increases on top of the bill you will get for an unforeseen accident. And what if you don’t want fire rescue and just a cop there for a report. Why pay taxes at all. I’d rather donate after they do a Jerry Lewis.

  33. Bearzooka says:

    umm….tax payer money funds their department, right? what the heck?

  34. VashTS says:

    Terrible, just terrible. So many people here agree with this. Take those silver spoon out of your mouths. Really, it sounds like pay me or I will not help. It will lead to that eventually.

    I cannot believe a city like NY will let that happen. I expect this type of stuff in a Hickstown, USA. No one wants to be in an accident, the FDNY and eventually the NYPD will make people who do not want to be in accidents, fender benders, robberies pay. Crap happens, why make it worse by billing people who pay your salary though taxes.

  35. u1itn0w2day says:

    One day a week they need to get all the politicians and upper level beaurucrats/administrators to stand on the street corners shaking a tin cup rather than figuring ways to stick it to the public.

    Better yet lets all boycott NYC, I’m sure you can find a decent restaurant,club,bar or theatre in the out lying suburbs somewhere. Let the foreign tourists alone support the NYC economy. Even better how about moving offices and other businesses out just like alot of other companies have done and other older cities have experienced.

    • NurseTimLPN says:

      A nearby city instituted a policy to charge at fault drivers in accidents who were not residents a fee for police response. I decided that since I did not live in this city and didn’t want to take a chance on getting in an accident, I wouldn’t go to any business in that city. Apparently so did a lot of people because a few years ago they repealed, stating something along the lines that it wasn’t being cost effective or something like that. I think business owners were noticing people not coming into the city and were doing their shopping somewhere else.

  36. VashTS says:

    Also why bill people who are struggling. I defend the FDNY and NYPD tooth and nail, but that is it. Enough is enough. The economy is shambles, but Obama has the Nerve to claim the recession ended.

    Gas prices look to be inching closer to four dollars. The rich are geting richer and the poor are still getting poorer. I guess that’s capitalism, capitalize on the poor.

  37. MauriceCallidice says:

    By the same logic, only the parents of children enrolled in public schools should pay school taxes.

  38. Press1forDialTone says:

    Woot! Make those that cause the chaos, pay for the chaos! Especially
    drunk sob drivers that kill. The careful, smart people are sick of paying
    for the careless stupid people! Arise!

  39. babaganoush says:

    Interesting to read this. Here in Tucson, AZ, the police are no longer responding to accidents unless there is injury, death or perhaps other criminal actions involved.

  40. baristabrawl says:

    How can this work? People will refuse to pay and helping injured people will mean charging and the tool belt will include a card reader.

  41. u1itn0w2day says:

    Was it NYC or the Statue of Liberty or something that had to shake a cup in late 70s early 80s?

    So it’s basically once a generation that the beaurucrats of NYC need to be bailed out by forking someone else?

  42. dfdeng44 says:

    That’s a easy way for the politicians to scam more money from the residents and non-residents. Since the Firefighters and EMS are already in the budget along with their fuel. And are paid whether they go on the run or not. That’s bull.

  43. pegasi says:

    we already pay taxes to support public services like fire departments and police. they need to revise their policies about “double response” where they send both paramedics and ambulance to a medical call, when only an ambulance is required, which would save money. If it’s not a motor vehicle accident where extrication may be needed, let an ambulance alone answer medical calls, saving money, or just send a paramedic unit alone, and let them transport to the hospital, either/or, not both. One unit gets sent off unused, but both get tied up and cost money, using the double coverage method. Just have the closest unit respond, plain and simple. Not letting paramedic units do hospital transports because of ‘policy’ is a waste of money.

    Also, If a traffic accident happens and callers say there’s no injuries, don’t send fire/rescue, which some places do anyway. It wastes money and ties up the unit, and a squad stands around doing nothing.

    Taxpayers fund public services already. If the department was volunteer or private, then a billing policy would be a different thing, but you can’t charge citizens again for something they already pay for. The only thing I can see charging for is stuff like fire alarms that go off erroneously. Here there’s a fine if the business’s alarm goes off more than twice in a given time period without an actual incident, because they incur a cost for the response to check out the false alarms, which is reasonable.

    The response of “pass along the bill to your insurance” only makes everyones insurance go up, and isn’t fair to the poorest of us, who have the most difficult time paying insurance in the first place.

    Note that the government is getting to same point that the Roman Empire did…. overtaxation of its citizens…. they tax our income when we get it, they tax us when we spend it, they tax us for various non-tangible things that are “required” for what is considered a “minimal” standard of living like utilities and communications services, etc. So we pay a LOT more than just income and sales tax, we pay utilities taxes, communications taxes, service taxes, etc. There’s at least 5-10 dollars worth of taxes attached to the average 100 dollar electric bill, the same for your phone/cell bill, cable bill, etc. Then you add the taxes you get hit with every time you buy something, put gas in your car, pay for a service (in some places) etc. I bet that most people pay an extra 5% of their annual income….. presuming they make under 35k a year like most of us poor working schmoes….. in these added in taxes.

    Then cities want to charge for these services we already pay for…. THIS JUST TAKES THE CAKE!

  44. gman863 says:

    Car fires are usually small. Given this, how much is the NYFD going to eventually charge for other larger turnouts?

    Will it be a flat fee (all you can burn for one low price) or will they take the Stanley Steemer approach and charge by the room or square foot? Will there be an extra charge for each child or pet rescued? Is there a law in New York requiring the fire department to charge people time-and-a-half on Sundays and Legal Holidays? Doesn’t matter: Even if the fire (or accident) wasn’t your fault our friendly collection agency will be on you like a pit bull if you don’t pay promptly.

    As much as I respect the bravery and professionalism of fireman, I have a feeling this move will erase the “9/11” love aura from the NYFD and sadly change their image to that of financial terrorists.

  45. JeremieNX says:

    I remember the one and only accident I was ever involved in. I admit that it was my own error and because I was at fault, I was given a $500 ticket for negligent driving [this was in Vancouver, WA]. Is this not the same concept?

    Instead of trying to “double dip”, why not enforce already existing laws? I am sure every state has some form of reckless/negligent driving statute. The proceeds from that fine should go to pay for the city services used.

  46. sopmodm14 says:

    i think that bullspit…..if that were the case, i think drivers should bill the city for pot holes

  47. walt duke says:

    All this will do is encourage drivers to leave the scene of the accident.

    Why stay and pay when you can leave and just be another anonymous ‘hit and run’?

    • central_ny_dude says:

      Exactly. Its like the laws on the books in Florida against street racing. A cop can write you for street racing for anything.. if he thinks you sped up too fast.. street racing. You rev your engine, street racing. And getting charged with that, in many cases means your car gets scrapped. All it does is create a fear of police, and a lot of people run, instead of just stop. You think anyone is gonna just stop if they know that you might lose your car because of a power tripping officer? So it creates a much worse outcome. Now instead of being ticketed, the cops are chasing the would be offenders at high speed. Maybe a well intentioned plan, but they don’t consider possible outcome from the law.

  48. Abradax says:

    Can I as a bad driver get a subscription to FDNY? I’d rather have unlimited service calls instead of ala carte.

  49. bluline says:

    So, to use the car fire example in the article, I might be better off financially if I just let my car burn to the ground. Is that my choice?

  50. ITJim says:

    This Sounds perfectly fair. This moves more of the cost of accidents closer to the cause; and since the insurance industry has been charging motorists for covereage “protection” and profiting greatly, it makes sense to correct this. Keep in mind that the insurance companies don’t necessarily contribute to local police/fire/responders via taxes since they are often structured to be out of reach of muni tax arms; if not actually bases out of the US entirely. By local taxpayers paying for the responders to be on-call 24/7, the eventual payout/liability that insurance companies end up with has been always been subsidized.

  51. FrankReality says:

    Out here in rural Minnesota, paying for fire calls is typical.

    The going rate for a call in our township is $600 per call. A call out of the first responders (EMTs) may be lower, but isn’t free either. Our township has three different fire departments under contract based on location in the township and two different ambulance services based of location.

    And then, there’s an ambulance fee if they are called, and yet another fee for having an ALS medical chopper haul you in if necessary.

    It just a basic fee for service deal.

    Obviously, the NY Insurance Association President doesn’t want his member insurance companies having to pay this fee.

  52. xmarc says:

    If you think this is bad check out what the cost is to get you to the hospital in a air ambulance. They are going for reimbursement from the patient.

  53. Dragging40 says:

    They try to raise money by charging people for things that should be covered by our taxes, instead of cutting back on the stupid crap that they spend our taxes on.

    We need more responsible people in government, regular people who live payday to payday.

  54. gafpromise says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t think my car insurance has a rider for bills from emergency services.

  55. xamarshahx says:

    burden on taxpayers?? they are already paid for with tax money, this is absolutely double billing!! people are just going to drive off after accidents.

  56. aidaan says:

    San Francisco already does this. it sucks.

  57. hawguy says:

    I like how they say:

    “The invoices will be sent directly to the driver, who can then choose to pass it on to their insurance company.”

    Is my insurance company obligated to pay, or will I have to add an additional “emergency services” rider to get coverage for what I thought my tax dollars were paying for?

  58. kennedar says:

    This has been happening here (Calgary, Canada) for a long time. Fire will charge to clean up any spills that are caused by negligence or an at-fault accident. If there is not found to be someone at fault, then no one gets charged. It has really cut down on people calling the cops for every little fender bender. Now most people only call if the cars can not be safely moved or someone is drunk or injured in the accident, which has really helped with response times. All in all, I think it is a good policy.

    Slightly off topic story: My brother was in a really bad accident that he was lucky to walk away from, but damaged the guard rail of the bridge he was on. They got a bill in the mail a few weeks later to pay to repair the bridge. They sent in the check, the guard rail was replaced. 2 weeks after, the city started expanding the bridge to 4 lanes, so the brand new guard rail was pulled out.

  59. Peggee is deeply offended by impetulant, pernicious little snots disrespecting her and violating her personal space at Best Buy. says:


    When I was in an accident 8 years ago, I specifically dialed the non-emergency number and told them no one was hurt and that we just needed the police to make a report. They sent two squad cars, two fire trucks, and two ambulances with sirens wailing.

    No way in effing hell would I be paying for that. I could see the response teams in small towns like that one deliberately sending extra vehicles just to be able to bill more, if this catches on.