Car accidents can quickly become expensive once you tally up the price you will have to pay to fix your car, the medical bills that you may receive from treatment for injuries caused in the accident and any damage that the accident may have caused to light poles or traffic barriers. San Francisco has added one more charge to the tab, a fee charged for motor vehicle accident cleanup.
The San Francisco Fire Department has been responsible for the costs involved in cleaning up the scene of a traffic accident in the past, costs that are passed on to the taxpayers. City officials have announced that they will begin to collect cleanup fees from the driver responsible for the accident.
A motorist could be charged up to $500 which would be used to reduce the Fire Department’s $13 million budget deficit. The city has estimated raising approximately $626,000 per year. The “at-fault” driver would not be directly charged the fine but billed through their insurance provider. It is no surprise that nearly half of the insurance companies who provide coverage to San Francisco motorists feel strongly against implementing the new law, according to an Insurance Information Network poll.
The Fire Department plans to begin collecting fees under the new law within the next two weeks. Cities across the state of California have either considered or passed similar laws focusing on emergency response fees. Huntington Beach was met with severe opposition when they tried to implement a program that was directed at tourists only. The plan was passed in August and had already been rescinded by the city by September 21.
Source: San Francisco Examiner “San Francisco to start charging for traffic accident cleanup” Brent Begin 9/30/10