Gov. Corbett signed a bill last year allowing certain larger municipalities to install the cameras. Although other eligible towns have requested information about them, Abington is the only one that has applied for them, according to PennDot.
At the end of a yearlong pilot program, the township will determine whether the cameras have reduced the number of accidents at the three intersections. If they do, Abington will look into renewing the program, said Abington Commissioner James Ring. If the cameras do not reduce accidents, the township will not renew the program and will try other safety measures, he said.
"This is good for the other townships, too, because if this shows it doesn't do any good, they don't have to do this and can find other things that work," Ring said.
Critics have called the cameras an example of government intrusion and a revenue-raising gambit. Some say the penalty for being caught by the cameras - a $100 fine and no points on a driver's license - isn't enough to deter red-light running, and some are concerned about the possibility of increases in rear-end accidents.
Abington Commissioner Steven Kline, the lone opposing vote, said he had received more than a hundred e-mails from residents who do not want the cameras, and does not like that his township is acting like a test case for the other suburbs.
"I'd rather be in the position of waiting to see what's going to happen in another town," he said.
He said he voted against the cameras because he is not convinced they will reduce accidents and he thinks they could cause problems.
For example, the cameras could make drivers more hesitant about inching into an intersection to turn, which could back up traffic, he said.
Kline planned to meet with police officers on Tuesday to develop what he called "a survival guide, so to speak, about how to handle these intersections."
Towns eligible for red-light cameras in Pa.:
Source: Commonwealth of Pa.
Contact Michaelle Bond at email@example.com.