Earlier this year, the Abington Board of Commissioners OK’d
the use of red light cameras at three busy township intersections. On Thursday,
the board kept the project moving forward by awarding the equipment contract to Gatso, Inc.
Two cameras will be placed at the corner of Fitzwatertown and Moreland roads; and four cameras will be placed at the intersections of Old York and Susquehanna roads; and at the corner of Old Welsh and Old York roads. The cost for each camera, including maintenance, is $4,200 per month, or $42,000.
Per the agreement, Gatso will be responsible for “all costs and expenses associated with the supply, installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance, repair, replacement, and removal of the system and all related hardware and equipment.” Gatso will also provide signage for each intersection equipped with the cameras; three workstations to access the violation processing system; and training to township employees.
In return, Gatso will receive a flat monthly fee of $4,200 per camera, per month. Should the township not take in enough money through the program to cover the cost, Gatso will “absorb the loss," though it can recoup the loss in later months.Any funds in excess of running the program will be remitted back to the state.
According to the Gatso website, the single-cabinet, 20-megapixel cameras are capable of capturing 30 frames per second and contain their own flash unit. The cameras, which can be installed in 90 minutes on existing poles, are also capable of reading license plates during an Amber Alert or a Silver Alert.
Commissioner Steven Kline cast the sole "no" vote on the motion.
What's next? By the end of the year, representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will meet with Gatso to start evaluating each intersection.
Abington was one of 13 municipalities in Pennsylvania approved to consider red light cameras because of its size and its police department’s accreditation status.
Here are some of the basics:
- Capture the date, time, posted speed, approximate speed of vehicle, color of the light, length of the previous yellow light, length of red signal, and plate
- Shoot only the rear image of a vehicle
- Are not permitted to be used for surveillance
- The vendor installs, maintains and transfers the images to the
Abington Police Department
- Is a civil fine
- Is $100
- There will be a 60-day warning period upon implementation
- Does not interfere with insurance premiums
- Is linked to the vehicle, not the driver
- Funds in excess of running the program go back to PennDOT for transportation enforcement grants
- If the driver can prove that he or she wasn’t driving the vehicle at the time, the driver does not have to say who was driving.
- An Abington Police officer will review each alleged violation, bringing a human element into the mix … should a first responder or someone in a funeral procession get tagged
- An Abington Police officer has to sign each citation.
- The length of a yellow light is calculated by PennDOT and is
dependent on a road’s width and speed limit.