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IRC Survey: Majority of Motorists Oppose Accident Response Fees

Posted on 18 May 2011

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According to a new survey by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), the majority of adults would prefer their local governments not charge accident response fees to motorists involved in traffic accidents.

Sixty-eight percent of survey participants object to the fees, which typically are passed on to auto insurance companies for payment, except in cases when the motorist is uninsured, according to the IRC, a nonprofit education and research arm of the American Institute for CPCU.

Twelve states have enacted laws prohibiting the fees, and several others are debating the measure.

A number of jurisdictions in the U.S. have approved the fees as a means of generating additional revenue at a time when their budgets are hurting.

When reminded that requiring insurance companies to pay accident response fees could lead to higher auto insurance costs, 69% of survey respondents disagreed with the idea of local governments charging accident response fees.

“Efforts to fund emergency response services through accident response fees stand in direct conflict with the fundamental notion that certain government services should be paid for by all taxpayers — not just those who are unlucky enough to actually need the services,” said Elizabeth Sprinkel, senior vice president of the IRC.

In looking at different demographic groups and opinions regarding accident response fees, the IRC found only one group, individuals between 18 and 24 years of age, whose members were more likely to agree than disagree with the imposition of accident response fees. For all other age, education, and income groups, more respondents disagreed than agreed with the idea of accident response fees.