In the United States, an emergency response fee, also known as fire department charge, fire department service charge, accident response fee, accident fee, Traffic Infraction Accident Fee, ambulance fee, etc., and pejoratively as a crash tax is a fee for emergency services such as firefighting, emergency medical services, environmental response, etc., performed by a local fire department, EMTs, police department, etc., at the scene of a structure fire, wildfire, traffic collision, or other emergency, billed afterward to the surviving property owner or owner(s), operator(s) of the vehicle(s) involved, and/or their insurance companies.
Many states and localities have approved these fees. Many states and localities prohibit these fees.
Some fire departments charge small and large fees for firefighting. Some bill the survivors, some bill the insurance companies of the survivors.
Some fire departments charge an advance fire subscription fee for fire protection. They often do not fight fires that are not covered, refusing offers of back payment.
The fees are controversial, with multiple arguments for and against.
- ^Accident response fee sparks debate, Toledo Blade
- ^Accident fee is not a ‘crash tax’ — FDNY, Queens Chronicle
- ^Washington State Courts:Cost Fee Codes – JIS-Link
- ^This man’s 2-mile ambulance ride cost $2,700. Is that normal?
- ^Accident Victims Increasingly Being Hit Again — With ‘Crash Taxes’, Fox News US
- ^Pennsylvania prohibits accident response fees | Search Autoparts
- ^Arizona Firefighters Charge Family Nearly $20,000 After Home Burns Down | HuffPost
- ^Fire Department Bills for Basic Services Horrify Residents, Insurance Companies – ABC News
- ^No pay, no spray: Firefighters let home burn – US news – Life | NBC News
- ^Fire Subscription Services: A Legal and Moral Conundrum – Fire Engineering
- ^A Crash. A Call for Help. Then, a Bill. – The New York Times