Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a bill to stop local governments from charging accident response fees.
House Bill 2003, sponsored by Rep. John Kavanaugh, R-Fountain Hills, prohibits local governments from levying a a fee for emergency response services at the scene of a traffic accident. However, the bill does make allowances for certain fees in rural areas where the response is outside of the fire district and other types of fees that are already specifically allowed in statute.
“Public safety is the primary duty of local government and is paid for through property and other local taxes, so Arizona residents should not have to pay twice for emergency response services,” said Kelly Campbell, vice president for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). “We applaud lawmakers for responding to the strong public opposition to this new trend of charging accident response fees. Ultimately these fees are a back-door tax that most consumers believe are unnecessary.”
A Harris Interactive poll found that three out of four Arizonans (77 percent) believe their taxes cover the time and services provided by emergency response providers following a traffic accident. As a result, most drivers believe additional accident response fees charged by local governments are in appropriate, PCI said.
Arizona is the 12th state to enact legislation that prohibits or restricts the charging of accident response fees.