Wednesday, May 7, 2014
The St. Andrews Public Service District (PSD) Commissioners in Charleston County voted unanimously to approve a proposal to implement a “Crash Tax.” The Motor Vehicle Service Fee ordinance would charge out-of-area travelers involved in accidents a fee when the Public Service District (PSD) is called upon to respond. The following statement can be attributed to Jeff Griffith who serves as local counsel for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) and was at the meeting.
“The vote tonight is a setback for motorists throughout the Charleston area. While we understand budgets are tight and local officials are looking for ways to increase revenue without increasing taxes, charging for emergency services is not the right approach. The residents of South Carolina already pay taxes and should not be charged a separate hidden fee costing anywhere from $300 to $1,000.
“Generally accident response fees are not covered by auto insurance policies as they do not fit under the standard definition of either property damage or bodily injury coverage. If insurers are forced to pay these fees, insurance premiums could have significant increases that harm consumers.”
PCI will continue to work with South Carolina lawmakers to support legislation that prohibits municipalities from charging this fee. There are currently 12 states that have passed bans and limitations to prevent local governments from imposing this additional tax.