FDNY to Start Charging for Car Crash Help

Department considers plan to charge drivers who need assistance

By Tim Minton
|  Friday, Dec 10, 2010  |  Updated 11:47 AM EDT
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FDNY to Start Charging for Car Crash Help

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First there's the shock of crumpled metal and airbags. Now add MasterCard or Visa to injury because Mayor Michael Bloomberg is sending a bill for the ambulance that shows up to help you after a car accident.

The FDNY is considering a plan to charge drivers who require the services of the fire department after a crash.

Car fires with injuries will bill out at nearly $500. A crash with no injuries gets a discount, ringing it at $415. If there's no fire or injuries the cost would come to a "mere" $365.

If you need help, you'll pay regardless of who's to blame for the crash. And insurance companies warn that policies may not cover the new charges.

Crippled by the city's budget constraints, the fire department said in a statement it "can no longer afford to provide" emergency services to drivers at no cost to those who require them."

The Cash for Crash plan is scheduled to start next summer. The city expects it will generate about $1 million a year in revenue.

Authorities point to departments in other states' municipalities that have enacted such measures. For example, 55 cities in California have similar programs and another 20 are thinking about implementing them, according to The Wall Street Journal.           

At this point, there's no plan to charge to have firefighters respond to building fires, regardless of cause or injuries sustained.

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