Fee For Emergency Services For Crash Victims In Houston Suburb

Each time the Missouri City Fire Department responds to a motor vehicle accident it will be sending out a bill for its services under a new ‘crash tax’ provision set to take effect March 1. The Houston suburb says the new tax will raise about $50,000 annually and help shore up budget concerns.

But, many are questioning whether the new tax is a step in the right direction for the City and wondering who will have to foot the possible $500 to $2,000 bill each time the fire department responds to a 911 call. According to the City, even if you don’t call for emergency assistance, you may still be charged the fee if someone else makes the call and rescuers are on-scene.

The City says that the new crash tax will target at-fault drivers’ insurance companies. No one should receive a bill for the emergency services; the invoicing will go straight to the driver’s insurance company.

There are many questions about how this new fee will pan out. Will insurance companies actually have to pay the bill? What methods of enforcement does the City have to force them to pay?

More importantly, when a motor vehicle accident results in serious personal injury or property damage, is the City’s fee taking money away from those who were injured?

Some drivers claim that they will be avoiding Missouri City altogether because of the crash tax. Whether that will actually happen and what, if any, economic impact the loss of travelers will have on the Houston suburb remain to be seen.

Source: NBC Chicago, “Texas City to Impose “Crash Tax” for Car Accident Help,” February 20, 2013