Veto AB 2151 – Public Shouldn’t Pay for Police and Firefighter Personal Vehicle Fender-Benders.
Like many of the bills to expand employee benefits that have come before it, AB 2151 by Assembly Member Norma Torres sounds simple enough. Under current law, peace officers and firefighters do not report accidents that occur in safety vehicles to their private insurance company. Well, of course not. A CHP officer’s driving record should not be affected by an accident that occurs while pursuing a suspect.
But here is where AB 2151 starts to veer off the road. What if the accident occurs, in a non-emergency situation, while that peace officer or firefighter is driving their personal vehicle on their way to training or maybe between two fire stations? Today, like the rest of us, the accident would be reported to private insurance carriers who would handle the subsequent damages, repairs and medical issues. But, if the Governor signs AB 2151, the public safety official would not have to report that accident to their private insurance. Wait a minute? But how is the car going to be repaired and who will pay for the damages? According to AB 2151 the accident would be reported to the peace officer’s employer and said employer, whether it be the county, city, special district, or the State of California, will be responsible for the vehicle and any negative effects of the accident as if the vehicle belonged to the employer. Your public dollars will cover the accident costs. Bottom line, AB 2151 is a shift of unlimited and unknown liability from an individual’s private insurance to the public employer and should be vetoed.