The NY Times reports on a growing phenomenon: the crash tax. Though ambulance fees have long been born by those who use their services, Police, Fire Departments and other first responders in 26 states are reportedly charging users for their services, and they’re generating quite a bit of debate in the process. In one instance, Mr Cary Feldman of Chicago Heights was in an accident that he didn’t cause, did not use any emergency services, and was still billed $200 for the dispatch of a fire engine to the scene of his wreck. The AAA’s take on such fees
Generally, we see that public safety services are a core government function that should be properly budgeted for with general taxes and not addressed by fees after the fact
On the other hand, charging those who cause accidents for emergency response costs helps keep taxes lower for safe drivers and provides an incentive against reckless driving. So are fees worth the occasional misapplication, or are they an unfair tax on victims?