Thursday, January 10, 2008

KY City to charge for vehicle accident response

The first two paragraphs in this story in sure got my attention...

The Erlanger City Council voted Tuesday to bill non-residents for the cost of crashes within the city limits. \\ The new municipal order will allow the city to bill insurance companies $154 for every Erlanger police car that responds to an accident and $7 for every 15 minutes an officer is at the scene.

I urge you to read the entire story, as I believe that this kind of progressive fiscal thinking should be strongly endorsed by those of us in the marine assistance industry. Indeed, one of the arguments I repeatedly made to the LA Lifeguards, who liked to remind me that boaters somehow deserved a free tow to the harbor because they were taxpayers, and I would remind them that there was no way to know if the boater being towed was a Los Angeles county taxpayer.

Additionally, Earlanger has come to the realization that insurance companies are the largest single beneficiaries of public agency response to traffic accidents. And, that these insurance companies are not paying into the local coffers. The city of Erlanger has found a way to get the insurance companies to ante up at least a portion of the costs. The new law applies only to non-residents of the city. I don't know if that is legal or constitutional, but I do think its smart.

Under the be careful what you wish for category, I am a little surprised that they only think their officers are worth $28/hr. Perhaps that is the actual average hourly wage for the local gendarmes, but I doubt that it will defray all the costs of a law enforcement officer, which must include health insurance, retirement benefits etc.

Anyway, can you imagine if your local harbor master of sheriff patrol adopted this strategy? Suddenly, the true value of our private service goes up, and the value of a towing membership goes way up.