The Association of California Insurance Companies is warning Californians about a trend in the state by local governments to impose taxes on out-of-towners who are in an auto accident. According to ACIC, because the tax does not regard whose fault the accident is, the proposed accident tax for people traveling from out of town is akin to a speed trap, except the costs can be much greater and hit drivers at a time when they are suffering the consequences of an accident away from their homes.
ACIC President Sam Sorich said the latest entity to eye such a tax is the Fresno County Fire Protection District, which is scheduled to consider on March 18 an ordinance that would implement the new levy. He is encouraging all California residents to visit the Web site www.accidenttax.com to learn about the trend, sign up as opponents and to eventually voice opposition.
“This accident tax for emergency response services is in addition to what citizens already pay through local taxes,” Sorich said. “Often these costs are not covered by insurance, which could leave the accident victim facing a bill – perhaps in the thousands of dollars.
“And even when an auto insurance policy covers the tax, the additional charges could result in higher premiums for all drivers,” Sorich added, noting Modesto is also in the early stages of considering a similar tax.
It’s no accident, so to speak, that these two communities border California’s major north-south routes, I-5 and Highway 99, which carry millions of out-of-towners each year, Sorich said.
“Imposing an accident tax is just one way for local governments to tap into a potential cash cow at the expense of California’s motoring public, which already is carrying a heavy tax burden,” he concluded.
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