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Car crash fee considered in Huntington Beach

August 16, 2010 12:44:35 AM PDT
It's bad enough to get in a car crash, but very soon if you're in an accident in Huntington Beach, it may cost you a whole lot more. City officials are considering charging drivers from out of town thousands of dollars for causing wrecks in their city. "As the state is continuing to take money away from the city, this is a way for us to still be able to provide the response and the availability of our units," said Jane Cameron, Huntington Beach Fire Department spokesperson.

Officials said more than 16 million people visit Huntington Beach each year, and more than 300 accidents every year are caused by nonresidents who don't pay taxes to cover the city's services. Authorities expect the ordinance could bring in about $100,000 each year.

The fee depends on the service required. If someone is trapped in a car and needs to be freed, it could cost nearly $2000. Having a fire truck respond could cost more than $400 an hour.

"It's another way for the government to get money. That's what it is to me, and I'm totally against that," said Tyce Ferguson of Fresno.

"We are directing this toward the person who caused the accident and that's not fair to the person who was innocent in the accident," said Cameron.

The driver's insurance company would receive the bill, but those without insurance would be billed directly.

Other cities, including Santa Ana and Fullerton have similar programs.

Officials said if Huntington Beach approves the ordinance, it could take a few months before taking effect.


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