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Texas city to charge those involved in car accidents "crash tax"

Car accidents are expensive. From the astronomical costs of medical treatment, to repairs to a vehicle damaged, the costs can rapidly add up. Responding to crashes involving motor vehicles for a town can add up too. Police and fire equipment is expensive, both to purchase and maintain, and every call for police or fire assistance places wear and tear on their vehicles and demands on staffing.

A suburb of Houston is attempting to cover some of these costs by instituting a "crash tax" on car accidents. The city indicates the charges will be on a variable scale, from $500 to $2,000, depending on the nature of the accident.

The fees are designed to paid by the at fault driver's insurance company, but some of the people interviewed by KHOU seemed doubtful as how well the tax will work.

The city is trying this as a means of raising revenue. Like many cities and state governments, taxes are controversial and people do not like to pay them, but they still expect the city to promptly respond to emergency calls. Missouri City hopes to raise $50,000 in additional revenue with the fee. It is unclear how insurance companies will react to the claims filed by the city.

This charge only makes explicit one cost of a specific accident. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that car and truck accidents cost the national economy almost $100 billion every year in "medical care and injury-related productivity losses." The CDC calculates that licensed drivers pay $500 every year in costs generated by motor vehicle accidents.

Source: KHOU11, "'Crash tax' raising eyebrows in Missouri City," Drew Karedes, February 19, 2013

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