During last Monday’s Bensalem council meeting, members unanimously greenlighted an amendment to the township code, allowing automated red light enforcement systems to be added at two intersections: Knights and Street roads (which was once considered to be one of the country’s deadliest intersections), and Route 1 and Old Lincoln Highway.
According to Lt. Robert Bugsch, this has been under consideration for some time, but was put on hold while the school bus safety program got off the ground.
Of the red light enforcement systems, Bugsch said, “It records violators that are not stopping for red lights. In the past six to seven months, a lot of areas, red lights have just become an option. They’re treating them like stop signs.”
Bensalem will model its enforcement program off of Abington, the only other town outside Philadelphia to implement it eight years ago. The same company that outfitted Abington will set up the systems in Bensalem, which Bugsch promised won’t cost the township anything.
It’ll take about 30 to 60 days to get the systems up and running. Once it’s operational, there will be an amnesty period of 60 days, during which violators will receive a warning. After that time, violators receive a $100 ticket, and no points on their license. The company that installs the systems recoups its money from these citations.
Bugsch stressed that citations aren’t automatically distributed if the system is triggered. The violation is sent to a police officer, who reviews it and determines whether or not it was truly a violation. Violators can also request a hearing, which is attended by the same officer, to explain their side of the story. If the violator doesn’t like the outcome of the hearing, they can advance to district court. According to Bugsch, this has only happened twice in Abington.
In Abington, Bugsch said there has been a decrease in accidents since the red light enforcement system was installed. Ultimately, this is the goal for Bensalem’s two intersections, which, according to TIME, saw 252 and 189 accidents, respectively, over a five-year period.
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