One of Orange County’s most popular beach cities, Huntington Beach or “Surf City” will now be charging tourists and non-residents up to $3,000 if you are at fault for an auto accident within the city limits. Additionally, if you have a car fire or cause a power line to fail, you will be billed for city services, explains a California injury attorney.
As California and many of its cities wrestle with one of the worst recessions in recent history, now cash strapped cities are creating new revenue streams such as charging for emergency services, installing red light cameras and raising parking ticket fees.
Injury auto accidents spike during the summer months when Huntington Beach gets between 13 and 16 million summer visitors. City officials claim that this puts a huge impact on emergency services when accidents occur, especially injury accidents which require the fire department and ambulances. It is estimated that non-residents are involved in approximately 300 car accidents per year, costing the city around 3 million dollars.
Starting next month, emergency service fees will be as follows:
• $595 for any car accident • $405 per hour if a fire truck is needed • $210 per hour if the fire chief shows up • $750 if the vehicle is on fire • $1,995 if someone needs to be extracted from their car
Automobile insurance rates may increase, explains a California injury lawyer, due to the fact that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will get the bill. If you are uninsured you will get the bill directly. Councilman Devin Dwyer opposes the new fees stating that they will ultimately just shift the monetary burden around, and in the end, the consumer will pay higher premiums.
Other Orange County cities such and Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Fullerton have similar programs for charging non-residents for accidents that they cause.
The Orange County Transportation Authority just released its “top 25 list” of the O.C.’s busiest intersections, and the top 5 are in the Huntington Beach/Westminster area along Beach Boulevard. Heavy volume usually equates to higher accident rates.
What do you think? Should property taxes cover emergency services or should those negligent cover the costs of car crashes?
James Ballidis is a California injury attorney specializing in automobile and motorcycle collisions. He has also written numerous articles on these and other subjects relevant to personal injury law. To discuss your rights and options after an accident or to request a copy of one of his articles, feel free to call 866-981-5596.