Home Bensalem Times Red light enforcement systems being installed at two Bensalem intersections

Red light enforcement systems being installed at two Bensalem intersections

After the council greenlighted the initiative in June, the township has finally received permits from PennDOT

Source: Pexels

It’s been nine months since Bensalem council members unanimously voted to greenlight the installation of red light enforcement systems at two of the township’s most dangerous intersections: Knights and Street roads, and Route 1 and Old Lincoln Highway. 

After recently receiving final permits from PennDOT, work has officially begun to get the cameras up and running, with a completion date expected to be announced soon. Once fully operational, the goal of this initiative is to prevent drivers from speeding through red lights, thus causing accidents with cars that have the right of way. 

During the June 2023 council meeting, when the vote was made, Bensalem Police Lt. Robert 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.”

When the automated red light enforcement system is ready to go, there will be an amnesty period of 60 days, during which violators only receive a warning. After that time, they will receive a $100 ticket. 

Additionally, if the system is triggered, a citation isn’t automatically distributed. Rather, 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. 

Bensalem’s red light enforcement system is modeled after that of Abington, which, according to Bugsch has seen a decrease in accidents since it was installed. The hope is that this initiative achieves the same thing in Bensalem.

According to TIME, the two intersections saw 252 and 189 accidents, respectively, over a five-year period, with Knights and Street roads once considered to be one of the country’s deadliest intersections. 

However, some fear that the system won’t decrease accidents, and may increase rear-end collisions, with drivers abruptly stopping to avoid a citation and fee. While studies show that this is a possibility, they also show that red light enforcements are still for the best. 

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “While red light safety cameras reduce front-into-side collisions and overall injury crashes, they can increase rear-end collisions. However, such crashes tend to be much less severe than front-into-side crashes, so the net effect is positive.” 

Plus, the statistics on red light-running are staggering. In 2018, according to the CDC, crashes caused by drivers going through a red light resulted in 846 deaths. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety polled drivers in 2021, with 76 percent agreeing that red light-running is dangerous, but 28 percent admitting to doing so in the past 30 days. 

As for the effectiveness of red light enforcement systems, violations decreased by about 40 percent after the introduction of safety cameras in Oxnard, California and Fairfax, Virginia, according to IIHS. 

The safety cameras are being installed at no cost to Bensalem Township. The company that is outfitting them is the same one that installed Abington’s, with the company recouping its money from citations. 

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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