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Emergency Response May Be Added to Cost of Car Accidents

Car accidents in New York City may start to get a bit more expensive next July. The Fire Department of New York City may start charging every driver involved in a car accident for the department’s emergency response services. The new policy is meant to create new sources of revenue as the department faces budgetary shortfalls. The new “Cash for Crash” policy is slated to go into effect July 2011.

The price for the New York City Fire Department’s response services will depend on the type of accident that occurs. Severe accidents will cost the most. A car accident that involves a crash with injuries will cost drivers $490. An incident that only involves a car fire without injuries will cost drivers $415, and a car accident that does not involve injuries will cost drivers $365. Again, any driver involved in the accident will be charged with the response fee. A spokesperson for the Fire Department explained that the policy shifts the burden of response costs away from the taxpayer and towards drivers that are responsible for car accidents.

Critics of the new policy believe that auto insurance rates will increase as insurance companies expand their coverage to include accident response services. A spokesperson for AAA is also critical of the new policy. The AAA spokesperson says that the policy will create a disincentive for drivers and witnesses to call emergency services when car crashes occur. New York City is not the first city in the United States to charge for its Fire Department’s services.

Source: Gothamist, “FDNY Charging For Car Accident Help,” John Del Signore, 12/10/10

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