This is a fair warning to out-of-state drivers who are driving in California: don’t get into any auto accidents otherwise you would be fined with crash-tax bills which could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Some cities such as Sacramento and Huntington Beach have already adapted an ordinance on billing non-resident drivers a tax – or rather a fee, according to the cities – who were found to be at-fault in auto accidents that they get themselves into. The latter city have voted in favour of billing such drivers earlier this week, and the billings would depend on how much the drivers require and use the city’s services.
As mentioned earlier, the bills that at-fault non-resident drivers would be fined would cost them from hundreds to even thousands of dollars depending on which on how much they use the emergency services of the city. For example, for each fire truck called into the scene of the accident the motorist would be billed $405 for each hour they would be there. Not only that, if there are car fires the motorist would be charged $750. And if there was someone who needed to be extracted from a vehicle in the crash site then the motorist would be charged $2, 000. That is how expensive these crash-tax bills could get.
For those insured drivers or motorists, the bills would be sent to their auto insurance companies. But for those who are not insured and are at-fault, these drivers or motorist would directly receive the bills themselves. However, even if the driver is insured his or her insurers would not cover the bills according to Tully Lehman of the Insurance Information Network because these crash-tax bills are not covered by auto policy. With the estimated 300 auto accidents that occur in Huntington Beach caused by out-of-state drivers every year, officials expect that the law would net them over $100, 000 a year.
President of the Association of California Insurance Companies, Sam Sorich, said in a statement earlier this week that cities that adopt such policies, such as the mentioned Sacramento and Huntington cities, are facing economic problems like other local governments. Sorich also added that this is an unfair practice, and that it adds insult to the at-fault driver’s injury. Lehman also added that these cities have not had much revenue as they expected to have.
Other cities in California that have adopted this practice also includes Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Fullerton, and Costa Mesa.