Read an article about a guy in Chicago Heights who got hit last summer with $200 bill for fire brigade visit to the crash scene because someone called 911. Worse part? He didn’t even cause the crash, his scooter was hit from behind.
It’s a horrible idea. In addition to just dealing with the crash (and financial consequences of it, insurance, perhaps medical consequences) now people also get fined by their own city. Where did all those property taxes go?
The other question is why is it the fire truck is always there. Yes, I understand that theoretically there could be a fire when there’s a car crash. But I presume in “small” crashes, where car isn’t turned into a pile of mangled metal, there’s very little chance of a fire. Remember that episode of Mythbusters, where they tried to blow up gas tank “hollywood style” by crashing, piercing and smashing it? Yes, Mythbusters are hardly an authority in terms of real-life events, but they are up to something. Unless there’s an injured party, or a clear danger of fire/fuel spillage, do not send fire truck.
So, I believe when financial situation deteriorates up to the point where people get charged after the fire truck visit (or an ambulance), there should be a clear and simple rule — calling person needs to be made aware that if they request a fire truck, they will be charged. And they will be charged, not the other party to the crash. If possible, local citizens should not be charged. Ideally, localities should just do an exchange. I cover your citizen’s fire truck calls, when they visit my county, you cover mine’s when they visit yours.
Some people say this would lead to fear of calling 911 — it sure would. If you’re poor and you know you could be socked with couple hundred bucks fee from the city, you will think twice or three times before asking for a fire truck. I suppose next will be a policeman fee, where calling because of noisy neighbors will result in you paying for the officer’s visit.
The only way to avoid this whole madness is with simple fiscal responsibility. But it’s such an inconvenient and painful concept…