• Apr 8, 2010
If you are involved in or are a witness to an accident, what's the first thing you should do? Call #911, right? While we're certainly not advising against using the emergency service, making that call may wind up being rather costly to either yourself or the victim. Proof of such can be seen in the case of Cary Feldman, who was traveling through Chicago Heights, IL on his motor scooter when he was stuck from behind.

As CBS 2 Chicago tells it, a witness to Feldman's accident called #911, as you might hope and expect them to do. "There was no fire, there was no explosion, there was no debris," according to Feldman. "From what I saw, they came, they saw, and they left."

Still, the Chicago Heights Fire Department responded and examined the scene before they left. Shortly thereafter, Feldman received a bill for $200 while the person who hit him, who lives in Chicago Heights, got a bill for $100.
"Crash taxes" are an alarming trend in the 41 states that have not banned the practice.

Don't think you can just avoid the issue by not paying. Feldman reports that officials were "sending me letters and they even turned it over to collections without sending a final notice... So this is what I call extortion. This is how they get you to pay it."

Such so-called "crash taxes" are an alarming trend in the 41 states that have not banned the practice. At present, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee are the only states that don't allow these so-called crash taxes. Illinois lawmakers are even considering legislation that would allow municipalities to bill up to $250-per-hour for emergency services that are already funded in part by taxes. It's also being considered in some California towns.

Not everyone with a vote in Illinois thinks the would-be law is a good idea. Representative Karen Yarbrough (D – 7th District) calls it a "very bad bill," adding, "This is just another way to reach into a consumer's pocket." Chicago Heights Fire Chief Thomas Martello suggests that such methods are necessary in response to tight budget constraints and says that house fires won't incur an added bill.

Feldman remains unconvinced that the tactic is appropriate. "I'm going to call it a scam," said Feldman. "Just a way to make money instead of helping people." So, we ask you: Good, creative way to ease tight budget constraints for emergency services, or just another blatant money grab? Consider the topic officially up for debate. Feel free to voice your own opinion in our Comments section below.

[Source: CBS 2 Chicago]


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  • 315 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wait, if the service is paid by taxes in the first place and then they bill you, you are being double taxed. What happens if you call again and you didn't pay the first one? They refuse you service? Dumb, Dumb, Dumb. Oh yeah this is the honest state of Illinois. Just the begining folks. Keep drinking the Liberal/Socialist Kool Aid.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I feel this practice is not a good one...If a good samaritan calls 911 due to an accident, the dispatcher is suppose to ask if there is any injuries, or road block/debri...I agree that this a scam, and it's wrong...
      t6612
      • 4 Years Ago
      Chicago offers a service to help move immobile seniors from there house out to a vehicle. I had to use the service once to get my invalid mother down 3 flights of stairs. I thought paramedics would show up but a pumper truck also appeared. Why? How much would have been saved if the pumper and it's full crew didn't respond?
      Jimmy
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now, you want to add insult to injury. If you are on welfare you don't pay a dime!

      Ask any firefighter, the welfare type use the fire department as their free ride to the hospital when they don't feel good. I'm talking a stubed toe, stomach ache, a rash etc.
      • 4 Years Ago
      People, you have to understand, the politicians need to find ways to boost the tax dollars.
      If not there is not going to be enough money in the tax funds for them to pass on to their friends in grossly overpriced contracts there fore there friends would not make enough to kick money back to the politicians.
      Bryan L.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You can sure tell when democrats are in charge, all they think is tax tax tax. I guess someone should let the gov know that we little people are hurting enough as it is with our hours cut in half at work (if not laid off already) and the cost of food keeps going up up up but our pay does not match the rising cost of just being able to survive. Im so sick of this gov. We should fire every polotician and just start over.
      Old Soldier
      • 4 Years Ago
      Bear in mind, folks, that this is Chicago, aka Daly Incorporated, the place where Chairman Maobama received his wealth redistribution indoctrination and studied theology under "Reverand" Wright. You have 2 choices - fight the system (and likely pay with your life), or move to a Mafia-free zone. I suggest California - that place is run by well-meaning idiots and you might be able to make a difference.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Another money grabbing scheme by the government.
      mam-ma
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am sorry that anyone feels they should not have to pay for medical response for even a fender bender. Even a small accident, injuires can occur. Some injuries can not be felt at the time but show up when vital signs are checked by someone trained to know what symtoms to look for. I am in the medical field and I know how much things cost and even a 2x2 isn't cheap. We should never get upset with the fire dept for doing the job we as citizens not only expect them to do but demand it. Why not help them pay for their men, their equipment as long as that money goes to that specific dept. Wouldn't the insurance company pay that with the rest of charges made by being in an accident? We pay our insurance company and they should pay for medical expenses and it seems to me that would be listed in the billing. I would very happy to pay such a small amount as I am worth it.
      upurs
      • 4 Years Ago
      if i my posting takes longer than 1 minute to write it won't get counted on my pc...
      • 4 Years Ago
      it doesnt say 41 states are doing this. it says 41 states dont have bills stopping it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I could see the person found at fault recieving a bill but the victim are you serious? This a money grab plain and simply. Its akin to some law in a state which I forget at the moment that gives you a additional fine for being pulled over for speeding. Here in MA you have to pay at times up to $75 to contest a ticket and even if you win you don't get the money back.

      I don't buy the classic argument of "Well if you were not doing this that or the other thing they could be out catching real criminals or helping those who are seriously hurt." its a copout a scape goat. The police and fire fighters are paid to respond to emergencies. No matter how big or small its their job. To my knowledge we pay both jobs their normal pay rate regardless if they sit in their fire house or cruiser or responding to emergencies.
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