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Could town's 'crash tax' proposal come to Tennessee?

One town's proposal to help cover the cost of emergency responders heading to crash sites has many residents up in arms. Could you imagine being hit with the bill for first responders if someone hit your car? While this is unfolding in another southern state, that doesn't mean a town in Tennessee won't hear about the idea and pick up on it.

The fee is being called the "crash tax," and starting March 1, residents of the town could be hit with a bill ranging from $500 to $2,000. The outcry from enraged citizens has public officials already going into damage control mode, saying that the bills will be sent to people's insurance companies. But that is not satisfying many people, who worry that an insurance company may refuse to cover the cost.

Additionally, the people who cause car accidents will be the ones being billed, and not someone who wasn't doing anything illegal or negligent. But what happens in the case of a hit-and-run accident? Should someone have to pay the bill because another driver was too irresponsible and cowardly to stop and admit fault?

But officials say the "crash tax" is needed to help the town close its budget gap. The new fee is projected to give the city about $50,000 each year. And with many local governments, including those in Tennessee, facing budget shortfalls, it's not totally inconceivable that other towns will pick up on this idea, despite its unpopularity.

For someone who is injured in a car accident through no fault of their own, they may find themselves having to sue their own insurance company just to get the cost of emergency responders covered.

Source: KHOU, "'Crash tax' raising eyebrows in Missouri City," Drew Karedes, Feb. 20, 2013

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