Americans Oppose Accident Response Fees: Insurance Industry Survey

May 18, 2011

Sixty-eight percent of adults oppose local governments charging accident response fees to individuals involved in traffic accidents, according to a new insurance industry survey.

The Insurance Research Council (IRC) survey found that requiring insurance companies, rather than the individuals involved in an accident, to pay accident response fees had little impact on the level of support for accident response fees.

Lawmakers in a dozen states have enacted legislation prohibiting local governments from imposing accident response fees. Several more have debated similar legislation. He insurance industry generally opposes local response fees.

When told that requiring insurance companies to pay accident response fees could mean higher auto insurance costs, 69 percent of survey respondents disagreed with the idea of local governments charging accident response fees.

“Efforts to fund emergency response services through accident response fees stand in direct conflict with the fundamental notion that certain government services should be paid for by all taxpayers — not just those who are unlucky enough to actually need the services,” said Elizabeth Sprinkel, senior vice president of the IRC.

The study, Public Attitude Monitor 2011, Accident Response Fees, was based on telephone interviews with 1,012 adults countrywide conducted in January 2011 by the market research firm Harris Interactive.

The IRC results track with another survey by Harris Interactive for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America that also found these fees unpopular. In that survey, three out of four adults (76 percent) said they believe their taxes cover the time and services provided by emergency response providers following a traffic accident and additional accident response fees charged by local governments are not necessary.

The IRC results track with those of another survey by the Property casuakty Insurers of America (PCI) Three out of four adults (76 percent) believe their taxes cover the time and services provided by emergency response providers following a traffic accident and additional accident response fees charged by local governments are not necessary.

The IRC found only one group, individuals between 18 and 24 years of age, whose members were more likely to agree than disagree with the imposition of accident response fees. For all other age, education, and income groups, more respondents disagreed than agreed with the idea of accident response fees.

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