HomeBensalem TimesRed light enforcement in Bensalem captures 5,200 violations in first month

Red light enforcement in Bensalem captures 5,200 violations in first month

After the current 60-day grace period, which ends May 31, violators will receive a $100 fine

Source: Bensalem Police

It’s been a little over a month since automated red light enforcement systems were installed at two of Bensalem Township’s most dangerous intersections: Street Road and Knights Road, and Route 1 at Old Lincoln Highway.

And the number of violations already reported is staggering.

Since April 1, Bensalem Police have issued 5,200 warnings to commuters who were captured on camera blowing through the stop light. Currently, there is a 60-day grace period, which means that, through May 31, there are no financial repercussions. Beginning June 1, however, drivers who run the red will face a civil fine of $100. 

According to director of public safety Bill McVey, changing negative driver behavior won’t happen overnight. Still, he believes that, eventually, these intersections won’t be associated with such a negative reputation. In an article published by Time magazine titled “Where’s the most dangerous intersection in America,” the publication concluded that Street Road and Knights Road was at the top of the list based on data shared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“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 McVey. “So it’s a big improvement that we need, and we’re very glad that we’re bringing this to Bensalem.”

Township council members greenlighted the initiative last June, with PennDOT giving its final stamp of approval earlier this year.

There is no cost to the township or its residents for the installation, operation or maintenance of the system, and Bensalem does not receive any revenue from it. Basically, the system pays for itself — the $100 violation fees fund all equipment and personnel costs directly related to the program.

Lt. Robert Bugsch noted that violations aren’t sent out automatically. Rather, 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 fine. 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 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 civil violation does not affect one’s driving record, insurance rates or CDL status, and no points are added to the license.

Drivers will likely receive a piece of unwanted mail if they speed up on a yellow light in an attempt to “beat” the red light, or exit the turn lane and “cut the corner” to complete a left turn before the light turns red. These actions, said local law enforcement, create dangerous driving conditions for other vehicles and pedestrians, and will result in a $100 fine.

“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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