Huntington Beach community leaders have come up with an unique way to plug the city’s budget deficit. The City Council has decided to levy fees on non-residents who cause car accidents or property damage that require emergency responders. The OC Register reported that the new car accident cost recovery program will focus mainly on charging individuals that require assitance from local firefighters.
Huntington Beach expects to raise over $100,000 per year from the car accident fee program. Experts are concerned that the cost-benefit ratio may not result in monetary savings for the city. Similar car accident fee schemes in Santa Ana and Garden Grove have underwhelmed city treasurers with an average of only 33% of expected fees collected.
Car accident fees will be charged to the driver’s insurance company, with uninsured drivers billed directly. The city reported that 16 million non-resident drivers travel through the city and bear responsibility for over 300 car accidents every year.
Drivers do not intentionally get into car accidents and as a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles disagree with this city ordinance. A car accident is an unintentional act and levying penalties is an unfair taxation on the public. Ordinances like this should be governed by the California State Legislature or state insurance commission, not individual cities.