New Yorkers Stunned At Notion Of Being Billed By Firefighters

NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880) — The cost of driving in New York City is about to get more costly. That is, if you need medical attention after an accident.

In a time of tight budget times, the city is looking for new ways to recoup costs.

And drivers needing help from the FDNY will be the targets.

Getting hurt in a car accident is painful enough, but if firefighters have to respond, expect more pain — in your wallet.

Starting next summer, the city plans to bill drivers in accidents that require an emergency response.

The so-called “crash tax” works like this: A car fire or accident with injury would cost you $490. A car fire without injury, $415. And any vehicle accident without injury will run you $365.

“Definitely a sign of the times and disappointing, both,” said Jack Bashkow of Midtown.

“It’s a new reality for New York. It’s not the social contract,” said Larry Horowitz of the Upper West Side.

Drivers CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey spoke to on Thursday night were none too pleased.

“I think it’s kind of crude. It’s basically inhumane to leave someone sitting there, laying there,” said Lisa Kohn of the Upper West Side.

Hennessey: “That’s not to say they’re not going to treat you, but they’re going to charge you for it.”

Kohn: “Well, the question is can they collect?”

The FDNY says: “We want to relieve pressure on the taxpayer and place it on those at fault and their insurance. Right now if you’re at fault at an accident or a vehicle fire, you get a free ride. And that should not be borne by the taxpayers.”

But under the plan, you’ll get charged even if the accident isn’t your fault.

“Why should I be charged for something that I didn’t cause? Send a bill to the guy who caused it. That has nothing to do with me,” said the Upper West Side’s Ariel Schachter.

Few want this, especially those in their cars all the time.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams gets reaction from the Insurance Association.

“That’s not right to send a bill because the accident … nobody do it willingly,” taxi driver Mohammad Khan said.

The FDNY said it’ll hold public hearings next month and that they’ll take the public’s concern into consideration. But because the idea doesn’t need City Council approval, and already has the backing of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, most expect its implementation to be a given.

The proposal is set to take effect July 1 and is expected to raise $1 million in revenue.

Comments (494)
  1. public_servant says:

    First Responders are parasites, not heroes. It’s time they were treated as predators.

    1. Dude says:

      Let me start by saying that I think this is a patently stupid idea. Like others, if this does go through, then the firefighters should not be paid for down time. What’s right is righ.

      Now that that is out in the open, public_servant, you’re a stupid idot. We should treat them as predators? Why? I hope when you need their services they do not act as predators towards you you moron!

  2. From_Flatbush says:

    Firefighters get paid the same weather they sit in the fire station or are on a call. Why do we have to reimburse the city when they have to pay the firefighters anyway?

  3. Dan says:

    Sounds good but than you should lower my taxes now that I’m paying for services when rendered.

    1. Frank Perkowski says:

      Dan…fabulous post. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  4. Freddy says:

    If they want to play that game, how about completely privatize the FDNY and make them stand on their own legs? Bet those pensions and salaries won’t be so fat….

  5. A_From_Flatbush says:

    Crazy!!! Will the charge be per driver or per accident? In a three car accident does everyone split the cost.? What happens if there is a minor fender bender and someone decides to call the FDNY, does the driver still have to pay? If someone cannot afford to pay, what happens?

  6. Keith says:

    I am beginning to wonder if in my lifetime we will see an Oxygen tax.

    Please excuse us for being born …

  7. Jaartaman says:

    I have no sympathy for any Socialist City or State that complains about their tax’s.
    You all get what you vote for. NY will go the way of California.
    keep voting for the demedopes HA!

    1. Chuck Curry says:

      Bloomberg calls himself a Republican!

      1. Steven says:

        Actually genius, he calls himself an Independent now, and anyone with half a brain knows he’s a democrat under it all. NY is heading the way of CA without a doubt.

      2. Gil says:

        On last year’s ballot, he’s on both Republican AND Independent. He wants to be identified as Independent so that he can get both Democrat and Republic support for all of his doings.

  8. Fubar says:

    What if you have a none injury wreck and you did not call 911. Are you going to be billed when someone else with a cell phone calls 911?

  9. Craigster says:

    They could raise more revenue by charging for each fire, say a trip charge or mileage charge for the engines, then an hourly rate for each fireman and of course there should be a mark up for the union, the city itself and some profit for the year end parties, birthdays etc. The possibilities are endless.

  10. Mike says:

    Another source of revenue for the city? How about ticketing firetrucks that run red lights in non-emergency situations. Happens ALL THE TIME.

  11. CSR says:

    Sooooo… Tax dollars provide the fire department with their buildings, equipment, and salaries, but now they want to charge when they are actually needed?

    I’m for it – provided all tax dollars are cut out of the mix.

  12. Truthinspending says:

    Interesting. When did any community department get the authority to levy fees for their services? Seems to me that is the job of the legislature, and the administration, not the various departments.

  13. Fentonite says:

    All emergency vehicles will have a new motto “To Collect and to Serve”. It will give new meaning to the term “Officer in Charge”. Our politicians tried to pull off this stunt here in Michigan last year, fortunately for us, unfortunately for them, they got booted out of office. My question: Why do the good overtaxed people of New york tolerate this?

    1. shovlhd says:

      It will be the ” Officer of Charge”!

    2. Mitch says:

      Ummm, cause they are pretty much all idiot Democrats…

  14. Chuck S says:

    Happens all over –SUPRISE–gov’t spending at it’s best. Collect taxes to pay the wages and benefits of the workers and everything else is “pay as you go”‘ Here in Michigan I pay several thousand a year in taxes and they even add a tax collection fee (administration fee) so not only are you expected to pay tax you have to pay to pay the tax. VOODOO ACCOUNTING BY YOUR GOV’T!! I can only hope that with the new Republican governor in Michigan (and he is an accountant) we get some answers and accountability. I feel sorry for the people in NY many more years of the LIBERAL AGENDA will KILL you.

  15. FlamingoMLH says:

    Gee, I reckon that means if you DON’T have an accident, the fire dept in NY will send you a check for$490 since you paid for their services with your property taxes, and are then deserving of a rebate.

    1. say when says:

      please sent my rebate to:

  16. WorksInACar says:

    Why only charge for incidents involving cars? Why not get charged for any FDNY help?
    We know why… NYC’s most vocal residents (transplants?) look at vehicles as the root of all evil. FDNY knows they can fleece vehicle operators and most residents will be fine with it.

    1. JS says:

      The problem is, the Manhattan residents are mostly heard because they live the closest to where our idiot mayor lives and works. A lot of Manhattan people don’t (or can’t) drive because they don’t need a car. They rely on subway and buses to get around. The rich people have their limo drivers or taxis to get them around. These Manhattan people are so self centered that they don’t realize there’s other boros in NYC. We need to use our cars in the surrounding boros because there are some places that aren’t part of the route for buses and trains (and walking many blocks would be unsafe, especially at night).

      I’m sure Duckie (the transplant) lives in Manhattan and is just as oblivious to everything outside Manhattan (or lives in Long Island and takes the LIRR to work and doesn’t know what’s going on anywhere else but their home and their workplace).

  17. porgy says:

    this is exactlyy why i left NYC this year after 26 years. eff u mike the jerk bloomass

  18. Ex Chief says:

    The service fee is built in to your car insurance for Rescue Service. You do not pay it your insurance does.

    As A FIre Chief in eastern PA i billed insurance companies $500.00 for each responce to a car wreck the the Rescue Company responded to or used the Jaws.

    FDNY is just catching up to the rest of the Fire/Rescue Service.

    Also a FDNY Bus or an indipendent is billing your car insurance for the service. its not free.

    1. JS says:

      @ Ex Chief- Which is why our car insurance rates go up each year. The thing is, the rates increase even though you have a spotless record because of some other lousy driver. If you (God forbid) get into an accident, your own rates increases even more. So this FDNY tax is an extra billing. We’re paying taxes already for FDNY and NYPD services.

    2. Pat says:

      “You do not pay it your insurance does” What a moron. Who pays the sure to go up insurance premiums? You.

      1. Ex Chief says:

        If you have towing on your policy and you use it does your policy go up? No…..

        It is alll ready built in to every auto policy sold and had been for years.

        Your policy preimum increases becouse you were at fault in the accident or have excessive points on the DL..

        Every EMS run is billed to someones insuranance, wether it is the state, medicare or private insurance.

    3. lou says:

      Ex Chief, you are an idiot. Please take an economics course before opening your pie hole. Seriously…

  19. WeThePeople says:

    Can one say “Double Dipping Tax”?
    Already paying this bill from our taxes.

    If they want to be treated as if they were a private company, the answer to this would be simple

    Fire the Firefighters.

    Then hire new firefighters as a private company.
    Drop the tax for the service and pay out of pocket.

    Of course, non-union.

  20. Fred says:

    Where exactly is my NYC local tax going.

    1. Greg says:

      They make you pay for the essential services the government is suppose to providing with our taxes. That frees up room in the budget for the welfare programs and pork spending to get the politicians re-elected.

  21. Bob says:

    This type of reasoning is why I left NY years ago. Keep voting the liberal agenda and expect more of the same.

  22. Gary says:

    Hardly a new concept our VFD has had this for years. EMS rides cost, with so many people using them as taxis to hospitals they started charging and guess what, issues went away. Many insurances pay this fee.

  23. Ed Martinez says:

    Do we get a rebate on the taxes we pay that are supposed to cover these ” essential” services in the first place??

  24. Sarah says:

    I fear most that this will lead some to refuse medical attention. Sometimes the worst injuries are the ones that aren’t immediately seen.

  25. Srcamachonj says:

    Wait a minute here, Firefighters in New York, a government union employees that make over $100,000.00 a year plus full benefits and pension. What’s next New York, are you going to charge for Police coverage ala carte? what’s to stop them from just reporting to an accident and charging you, when they aren’t even required? How about an extra charge if the mailman has to bring your mail to the door?

  26. rascalqmfq says:

    The people should vote to reduce the fire and police departments pensions by fifty percent. That will fix the money problems of the city.

    1. jay says:

      Our tax dollars already go towards their time served and supplies, so to charge someone for the service when needed amounts to double billing. The FDNY gets paid no matter whether they are called to a scene or not. The city buys gas for them and the more they buy, the lower the total cost per gallon. If they are called to a scene and another call comes in, another unit is sent. It’s not as if there isn’t enough coverage. This is a sham and really shameful on the part of the suggestor (Mayor?) and whomever votes for this.

  27. iGreg says:

    I say Nuts. If this is what it has come to then close government fire and police departments and have private contractors to their jobs. They would be cheaper.

  28. MemyselfandI says:

    Only if our governments had not spent us into oblivion!

  29. SL says:

    Why stop at accidents? FDNY should charge us for all EMS (ambulance) calls. If you get shot in the chest and an ambulance is called, that’s $100. NYC can recoup even more money if we charge for NYPD calls as well. If you are assaulted and the cops come to the rescue, that’s $75. If it’s a simple robbery, $50. We can offer a volume discount. If you’re robbed a third time, it’s a freebie.

    1. cfd says:

      we’ve been charging for EMS runs in Chicago for over 10 years. Enjoy. Don’t blame police/fire. The politicians are the ones who spent all the money.

    2. Earl Hoffman says:

      You have to make sure you get your Frequent Victims card punched each time though and pay the processing fee to redeem it.

  30. Common Sense Kidd says:

    Mike is an arrogant Lib idiot in disguise. This is par for this arrogant elitist upper West side ruled city gone tourist trap. Time to get outta dodge.

  31. kyle bluth says:

    of coarse bloomberg supports hurting the middle class. the poor dont drive or wont pay or will be exempt, the rich wont feel it so why not just make every middle class new yorker who actually pays the taxes pay now

  32. Eric G says:

    Time to move out of New York!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. rich says:

    charge bloomberg a stupidity tax $1 mill…..problem solved

    1. Juan says:

      Best comment of all

  34. Josh says:

    Our tax dollars already go towards their time served and supplies, so to charge someone for the service when needed amounts to double billing. The FDNY gets paid no matter whether they are called to a scene or not. The city buys gas for them and the more they buy, the lower the total cost per gallon. If they are called to a scene and another call comes in, another unit is sent. It’s not as if there isn’t enough coverage. This is a sham and really shameful on the part of the suggestor (Mayor?) and whomever votes for this.

    1. Andrew says:

      I’m with Josh. You are paying for their services already. To be billed directly is essentially being double taxed. This is simply a conduit to get more money into the firefighters pockets. Billing people will lead to people simply not calling 911.

  35. harry says:

    I will just stay out of New York

    1. Bob says:

      Many of these comments are misdirected. The individual firefighters and fire companies are not going to benefit from this, nor was this their idea. This proposal comes from the clueless bean counters that run NYC.

    2. ILoatheNY says:

      You’re definitely not alone in your thinking, but just make sure you don’t smoke while living in or visiting anyplace upwind of Tehran-On-The-Hudson or else Commissar Mike will have you arrested and shipped off to the gulag.

  36. Sam A says:

    If they implement this, it shoudl be as they say, not as they’re doing. In other words, bill the responsible party in an accident. Also, what about the situation where, for example, one is a passenger in a cab. (Am I the only one who’s been in a cab in NYC that’s been in an accident?). Are they going to NOT want to call 911 even if needed? They think they can put out a fire or tell a passenger ‘you’re ot jurt’. What if I’m the passengr and I call 911. Who gets the bill? This seems absurd,.

  37. A Stein says:

    FDNY: 95% white men, few Blacks, Africans, Hispanics, Asians. The FDNY has been sued many times for their discriminatory hiring practices. Still they’re much better than the NYPD (police) both when it comes to professionalism and relationship with minority communities. But clearly FDNY and NYPD need to break down the walls that limit the number of Blacks, Hispanics and Asians that are allowed to enter.

    The tax is charges are a non issue, most public services will be privitized and we’ll pay through the noses both as taxpayers (paying the individual govt employees) then again if we need services (postal, NYPD, NYFD, schools, etc)

    The rich get richer

    1. tim millner says:

      What does race have to do with this story?

    2. Bob says:

      The test for the FDNY is an open competitive test, open to all races. Every time it has been challenged by The FDNY Vulcan Society(Black fraternal org.) in the courts the subsequent test was changed to reflect their ideas of what the test should be. Every time the results are the same. Furthermore for the last twenty years there has been an aggressive recruiting campaign by the FDNY designed to increase minority applicants and success on the exams. Millions of dollars have been poured into these programs with the results always being the same. Maybe it’s time to try something different like parent taking responsibility for their children’s EDUCATION, so they can pass these 7th grade level tests

  38. A Stein says:

    The plan is to eventually PRIVITIZE all services (police, fire department, postal service schools, etc). That will make the rich richer, and put the poor, working class and even middle-class families under the financial control of a very corrupt greedy system.

    In New York, and around America, many former postal service building are already being sold cheaply to rich SOBs and their corporations.

    The entire crashing of the global economy was: a) A result of the greed of rich Wall Street types; b) A plan to be followed by the cheap acquisition of land, power by the ELITE.

    1. steve says:

      Sure sounds like you need to up your meds. You sound very angry.

    2. Waylon Placek says:

      Stein very well put. But most conservatives and liberals are to busy having fun arguing about their political affiliations to realize whats really going on in this country and worldwide frankly!

  39. BC says:

    People…dig a little deeper instead of reading everything word for word that this site writes. I do believe the headline was miswritten, as the FDNY is not the one implementing this tax…it’s the City. The FDNY is only an instrument in implementing this tax. Any bill generated by a response to your need to be pulled from a burning vehicle or because someone crashed taking a highway exit too fast…will be coming from the City of New York. Don’t be so quick to blame the FDNY for this. It’s only now that Bloomberg is in our pockets like very other rich person, that this tax is being instituted. I don’t think any mayor prior to Bloomberg would have done this…not even Giuliani. Please look at the bigger picture.

  40. The Truth says:

    What the hell. Drop dead Bloomberg. FDNY already gets enough welfare via PENSIONS or glorified welfare. Free Food and booze. Drop dead as well. Aint no heros but drunken laziness.

    1. Know the facts says:

      Excuse me…you are ignorant. I don’t know where you received your information from but you are mistaken. First of all, each fireman pays into their own pension from each paycheck. Second, where do you think they are getting free food from? All food consumed is paid for by the firemen…not the city or the taxpayer. There is no welfare. Firemen are not these drunk and lazy people you make them out to be. If you only knew the things they did for people. If you think it is such an easy job why don’t you try doing it. Until you try please refrain from making such snide remarks. It’s upsetting to think firemen would put their life on the line for people like you. The truth is they would though, no matter what a jerk you are.

      This article is not about the FDNY imposing the tax but Bloomberg making them do so. Point your finger at him, not the FDNY.

      1. lou says:

        Fireman rarely pull living people out of a burning building. It is a myth propogated by their unions. They are some of the laziest govt employees out there. I have many fireman in my family and I tried it for about a year. I was bored to death. True story…

      2. Joe - former upstater says:

        Firefighters in Clearwater, Florida threatened to communicate to their fellow union members, nationwide, NOT to come to Clearwater, until the city approved their exhorbitant, new, labor, contract. I’ve seen similar actions elsewhere, including in upstate NY. Making the firefighers and their unions no better than the Mafia. Sorry, guys, and gals, you’re overpaid and over benefitted, and if you think you’re so great at what you do – check out the capability of volunteer departments, across the country.

  41. William says:

    i AM A RETIRED FIREMAN . I cannot believe this would happen to the best fire dept in the world. When 911 happened all the bosses with a little balls passed. It will never be the same dept. With this mayor it might be a good thing People will realize he will never understand the regular working person. and he will never get to Washington.
    I am sure this will also settle the battle of the shields. people will not want the FD to respond I hope you get the right to tell them no thanks stay in quarters.
    NY is not a friendly place , Taxed to high , Tickets for everything . Soon it will be Bloombergs playground with only his friends.

    1. Joe - former upstater says:

      Let me guess, William, you’ve moved to Florida where you enjoy your tax free pension benefits in wonderful sunshine, until your final days. As with many other former firefighters, who retire by 50, likely you’ve taken another firefighting position in some small town or city. The good life, but then again New York’s politician’s were foolish enough to provide such unsustainable and unaffordable benefits.

  42. Fritz says:

    I remember 30 years ago when I was in the Missouri National Guard and the K.C. Firemen went on strike. It wasn’t that tough fighting the fires when we had water, the hard part was when the striking FIREMEN CAME TO THE FIRES AND CUT THE HOSES. Gotta love those wonderful fellas. Having just retired from the NYPD after 25 years, I can tell you that firemen are the same nationwide.

  43. foghorn says:

    Pathetic is an understatement. So it makes perfect sense that mental-midget Mikey supports it. How on earth did that skeet get elected to a third term? If he ever becomes President then I am moving to North Korea … life will be better under that regime.

  44. WOODSIDE MIKEYm says:


    1. JKD says:

      @ WOODSIDE MIKEY- You’re an idiot! The victim also has to pay if the drunk driver hits his/her car. Go back to watching Jerry Springer!

      Quote-“But under the plan, you’ll get charged even if the accident isn’t your fault.”

  45. Robert Dolan says:

    What’s so odd about that? New Yorkers who call 911 and take a city ambulance to the nearest emergency room have been charged for decades. The current charge is well over $1000. Ask anyone who’s uninsured. Perhaps you have tax-free corporate-sponsored insurance and never knew?

  46. Mike says:

    This whole “crash-tax” idea is pathetic, and I don’t even live in NY. According to the report, instituting it will raise $1M. I don’t know an awful lot about NY politics, but all I can say is if Rhode island enacted this as law, that $1M would disappear overnight, with “nobody” knowing what happened to it.

    Being that NY pols will somehow be in charge of this money when it comes in, I can’t see them doing anything differently. If they’re anything like Rangel, that money will never make it into the general treasury.

  47. Susan says:

    This is ridiculous. is this a joke? Are you serious?

  48. Dumb Government says:

    I lose all respect for the FDNY if they implement this tax. Just like the red light cameras, government at its worse getting into business it should not.

    1. Its a sad world we live in says:

      It’s not the FDNY who wants to impose the tax…it is the city of New York. Unfortunately, the firemen don’t have any control over approving this tax or not. Hate Bloomberg, not the firemen.

      Bloomberg thinks it will raise 1 million in revenue but he talks about putting a 24 million dollar park in the city. Do you think that is smart?

  49. Duckie says:

    I think this is great. Maybe more people will think twice about driving in the city when we have the best public transportation system in the world. I moved to NYC from Poughkeepsie 17 years ago and haven’t owned a car for 16 years. I cannot fathom why more New Yorkers don’t h=give up their cars.

    I do think the fees that the FDNY is proposing may be a bit higher than they need to be, but conceptually this is a great idea.

    1. Rugbball says:

      Is NYC the be all end all, is there nothing worth seeing beyond the NYC limits?
      If you have family beyond NYC and you want to visit, you have to travel. And if they live where the NYC Subway doesn’t go you, need to drive. Amtrak and Greyhound also don’t go everywhere.
      This is absurd, What next, if I get robbed I have to pay a cop tax. If my house goes on fire, I have to pay a smoke tax! We pay taxes for a reason, basic safety services, which includes EMS, FDNY Fire, and police are included in this. This city is just turning into more of a Have and Have Nots. Rich can afford the cost, either pay or get insurance to cover it, Poor will not have to pay because they don’t have money. Guess who gets it in the can, the middle class.
      Bloomberg your rich we get it and you hate those who are not. So please finish your ill gotten term in office and leave us some sort of a city the majority can still live in.

    2. common Sense Kidd says:

      Duckie ur a friggin idiot. U r EXACTLY what the problem is with New Yorkers – transplanted arrogant idiots who think NOTHING exists beyond Manhattan. Last time I checked their were FIVE boros, but u wouldn’t know that cuz you weren’t born here. Go back to Porkeepsie.

    3. say when says:

      Duckie! You quack me up!
      I’ll bet you ride in cabs, am I right?
      Stay in the water, Duckie. Your pov is all wet.

  50. Keith says:

    Yet another reason to be embarassed to be a new yorker.

    1. Common Sense Kidd says:

      AAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMEN!!!! I’m outta here.

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