Car crash fee given the green light in St. Andrews PSD

Car crash fee given the green light in St. Andrews PSD

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The solution the St. Andrews Public Service District has come up with to defray added expenses is a car crash fee for people who do not live in the Public Service District.

"Property and casualty insurers cover bodily injury and damage to the vehicles, damage to other property, but this would be a fee that simply would not be covered in most of those policies," says Jeff Griffith, who represents Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

If you're in a car accident within the limits of the Saint Andrews PSD, the James Island PSD, the cities of Charleston and North Charleston and Saint John's Fire District and the Saint Andrews Fire Department responds, both drivers will be billed depending on the type of emergency vehicle that arrives on scene. Initially, only the at-fault driver was to be billed.

"It would be a lot less expensive to send a Tahoe or an Expedition or something like that versus a million dollar fire truck," explains Charlie Ledford, the board chairman for St. Andrews PSD.

Griffith, who represents the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, says Monday's vote was a setback. He says while 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.

"They have several thousand residents within the Public Service District, and they can certainly tax those members or residents if they need to raise additional funds for emergency vehicles."

"We don't want to raise property taxes to the point that people want to bail out of the PSD and go into the city," says Ledford.

The fee will range from $3000 to several hundred dollars per call. A third party will handle the billing.