• 257


The city of Missouri City, Texas -- a suburb of Houston -- is going to start charging drivers for responding to car accidents, according to KHOU.com.

The fee, known as a "crash tax," is meant to cover the costs of the first responders that come to aid in the event of an accident. And it's not cheap. According to KHOU, the fee can range from $500 to $2000 depending on the severity of the accident, and will be charged even if drivers don't call for help.

NPR reports that cities in 26 states now permit their emergency responders to charge response fees. But those taxes may not be worth the bother -- when Petaluma, Calif., tried collecting a crash tax in 2011 of up to $2,500 for accident response and road cleanup, it only made $14,000, NPR said. The city was expecting to make $100,000.

In Missouri City, the idea is to use the fees, which will only apply to drivers that are at fault in the accident, to help alleviate the city's budget deficit. According to Fire Chief Russell Sander, the charge will be billed to insurance companies, not to the drivers directly.

"They're not going to see something sent to their house," he said.

However, KHOU found that explanation isn't quite good enough for local drivers.

"Everything's ridiculous right now," said Vicky, a Missouri City driver. "Everybody's out to make money -- especially the government."

The crash tax isn't exactly a new idea, though in the past it has been used to target non-residents of an area who cause an accident.

In 2011, Fraser, Mich. employed such a crash tax in an effort to raise more money for emergency services.

"The intent here isn't to gouge somebody. We're not out here trying to make additional revenue. We're just trying to cover costs," Fraser city manager Richard Haberman told The Associated Press.

New York City backed off its proposal to collect this kind of fee. Ten states have banned the crash tax, said NPR, saying it sends the wrong message. Insurance companies, the ones who were expected to pay the fines, applauded states' moves to ban the taxes.

"We applaud lawmakers for responding to the strong public opposition to this new trend of charging accident response fees," said Kelly Campbell, vice president for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, after Arizona passed its bill banning crash taxes. "Ultimately these fees are a back-door tax that most consumers believe are unnecessary."


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 257 Comments
      Kent
      • 2 Years Ago
      No one mentions that many municipalities charge for ambulence calls. Medicare will pay a portion for seniors, but a bill still winds up coming to the residence for the portion Medicare doesn't cover. Chicago used to have a head tax of $2 per month, per employee for businesses with more than a certain number employees. The original Mayor Daley (Richard J.) figured that a lot of suburbanites came to work, availed themselves of city services, and paid virtually no tax (especially if they took commuter rail, rather than drive and park in a garage, which is taxed). The result was a lot of large corporations and even small professional firms (lawyers and accountants) moving to the suburbs.
      crazy ray
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sounds right to me. Why should others pay for your mistakes? Also, every criminal in prison should have a profit making job to help reimburse the government for police, courts, and the cost of incarceration.
        harmonie555
        • 2 Years Ago
        @crazy ray
        Why not? We are all paying for your parents' mistake.
        val
        • 2 Years Ago
        @crazy ray
        Yeah charge the person that totaled my LEGALLY PARKED car. Oh wait, she had filed bankruptcy and had no money nor did she have insurance. Yep this fee/tax sounds like a great money maker to me. NOT
      gasnglas
      • 2 Years Ago
      One problem---the police will be the first to tell you they don't determine who's at fault---they just write a report, and leave that to the insurance companies. Taking that into account, how do they levy this fee against the party at fault if they don't place fault to start with? Clearly the best solution would be for those well-intentioned lawmakers to ban crashes altogether. Just think how many lives that would saved! And the economic impact from no wrecked cars! TaDAAA!
        goodbarnes
        • 2 Years Ago
        @gasnglas
        "Well intentioned lawmakers?" They are no more than extortionist thugs.
        bj the dj
        • 2 Years Ago
        @gasnglas
        I don't know where you live, but when I investigate an accident in my county I determine who is at fault and issue that driver a citation.
      dancerprnc
      • 2 Years Ago
      Who in the hell sits around and thinks these so called laws up?? It is really getting ridicilous what the government is doing, on a street level, or federal level. There are taxes on everything. One day ppl.are going to stop complaining and take action on the government!! I would gladly partake in action to take our country back....
      JamminJohnny13
      • 2 Years Ago
      big brother and Obama taking over again
      ANGELOCOOL
      • 2 Years Ago
      RETARDED IDEA AND EXTORTION
      Linda
      • 2 Years Ago
      HAS THIS COUNTRY GONE TAX CRAZY NOW THAT WE GOT A FOOL ON THE HILL? TAX THIS, TAX THAT, TAX THIS FOR STUPID REASONS......IT IS GETTING RIDICULOUS.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Aren't people taxed enough, this is just another tax, what else is the government is going to tax... we need less government workers. Those people are always thinking of a scheme to take our hard earn money, and then they act like we owe them something, some of them could not even get a job a McDonald. Most people in the private sector are fed up with government, and their blood ******* schemes.
      geez2463
      • 2 Years Ago
      I thought thats what we pay city and county taxes for.
      rjj3642
      • 2 Years Ago
      Pure unadulterated bullahit. The primary responsibility of law enforcement is the publics safety, and investigating traffic accidents fpr cause, severity, and fault is part of that equation. Hell should this be allowed, I wonder what the going rate woulld be for Murder, Rape, Robbery, and the sundry of all other criminal violations, and torts .
      Mike
      • 2 Years Ago
      Texas has to be the stupidest state out there. It's politicians haven't left the 19th century yet.
      Zamfir
      • 2 Years Ago
      People are looking at this wrong. They are charging the driver who CAUSED the accident a fee for coming out to clean it up. So if some moron is texting/eating/on the phone while driving and they cause a collision, their insurance company gets charged this fee because the person was an idiot. Why not charge the stupid people who cause accidents a fee to clean up their mess? If you don't pay attention while driving you should be fined if you cause an accident.
        harrymorgan124
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Zamfir
        People are already fined for causing accidents. This is just another republican corporate scam to feed the governor more money.
    • Load More Comments