HomeBensalem TimesRed light enforcement systems are now active at 2 Bensalem intersections

Red light enforcement systems are now active at 2 Bensalem intersections

April 1 began a 60-day warning period at Knights and Street Roads, and Route 1 at Old Lincoln Highway

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Those driving through Bensalem may want to think twice about running a red light.

On April 1, automated enforcement cameras were installed at Knights and Street roads, and Route 1 at Old Lincoln Highway — two of the township’s most dangerous intersections. 

“The goal of this program, which has been proven over time with other municipalities, is through red light enforcement, it will deter people from disregarding steady red signals and blowing the red lights and, over time, we’re going to see a reduction in accidents, fatalities and pedestrians being struck,” said director of public safety Bill McVey. “So it’s a big improvement that we need, and we’re very glad that we’re bringing this to Bensalem.” 

Bringing this initiative to fruition has been in the works for nearly two years. Last June, Bensalem Council gave the green light and, recently, PennDOT gave its final stamp of approval. 

Following the installation, a 60-day warning period began on April 1. During this time, if someone runs a red light at those intersections and is captured on camera, they will only receive a notice. Once the 60-day period is up, if someone runs the light, they will receive a $100 civil penalty. This civil violation does not affect one’s driving record, insurance rates or CDL status, and no points are added to the license. 

Lt. Robert Bugsch stressed that, when the enforcement system is triggered, a Bensalem Police officer will review the footage to ensure that it was, in fact, a violation, before the driver receives a penalty. In instances when the officer is unsure, they can consult with another officer. If they have differing opinions on the matter, no penalty will go out. 

“It’s gotta be a clear-cut violation,” said Bugsch.     

Once approved, the civil violation notice is sent out by mail. All notices will contain a website, where the individual can view the photographs and video of the violation. Vehicle owners can pay the civil fine online or contest the violation at an in-person hearing at the Bensalem Township Municipal Building. 

This program is funded through the state and the company that runs it, not from Bensalem tax dollars, and no revenue generated will go to the township. Basically, the equipment and personnel costs are funded through violators paying the civil penalties. 

“So this is truly a safety program for Bensalem,” said McVey.   

A five-year review of accident statistics revealed a large number of reported crashes at these two intersections. This data is further supported by an article published by Time magazine titled “Where’s the most dangerous intersection in America.” After compiling data shared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Time concluded that the most dangerous intersection was “in Bensalem, PA, where Knights Road crosses Street Road.”     

While Bensalem Police have dedicated patrol resources to these areas, more is needed, said McVey, to reduce accidents.                  

“It’ll make a more safe environment for the officers out there to focus on other areas of the township where we can actually form better traffic safety measures and not put the officers in jeopardy like we were doing at Street and Knights,” said Bugsch.     

Mayor Joe DiGirolamo added, “I’m looking forward to a safer intersection there. I know I go through there almost every day. I go over to the golf club and everything, and it just keeps moving, even after the light changes. So hopefully, it’ll slow people down.”     

Beyond reducing accidents at these two intersections, the hope is that the habits of drivers change for good and, even at non-enforcement lights, they’ll refrain from running the red. 

“We truly expect to see reductions here, and I think that’s going to make everyone safer. The residents need to understand, if you see a red light, you stop. And if you don’t, there will be a penalty to pay. And it will change driver behavior over time,” said McVey. “I know these technologies, some people worry about. But they’re truly being done with the best interest of all that come through Bensalem.” 

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com                                                                                 

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