Speeders and toll runners threaten life and limb on the Dingmans Ferry Bridge

Dingmans Ferry. To evade a $1 toll or arrive or get to their destination a few seconds faster, some drivers put toll collectors who work at the bridge in grave danger.

| 13 Jan 2021 | 04:25

In a court case on Jan. 7, a man was sentenced for several infractions, one of which was running the Dingmans Ferry Bridge.

This may not seem like a big deal or a serious crime, but bear with me here.

First, when someone runs the bridge, they usually do so at a very high rate of speed. Also consider that the toll collectors are accepting payment from passengers in both directions. This leaves them with a relatively small space in which to collect funds.

If a vehicle speeds by at speeds sometimes up to 60 miles per hour, there is great risk of injury or even potential death.

I interviewed a number of the toll collectors. One said that, in the above-mentioned case, the runner just missed the collector by an inch or so while traveling at a very high rate of speed. If it had not been for the excellent training the collector received from the Dingmans Choice and Delaware Bridge Company, which owns and operates the bridge, there could have been a very serious injury.

Another collector told me that he actually was hit by a vehicle’s mirror.

Thankfully, in both cases, nothing serious resulted to either collector.

Now, here’s the result of the case heard on Jan. 7. Because the offender had prior criminal charges, he faced stiffer penalties then one might on a first offence. When he crossed the bridge, he did so at a speed estimated at 60 mph. He was charged with reckless endangerment and with not paying the proper fee to cross the bridge. The penalty for reckless endangerment is 12 to 24 months in the Pike County Jail as well as a fine, court fees, and the expense of prosecution.

Pretty steep for not paying a $1 toll.

The bridge management told me this was a very regrettable event. The bridge strives to maintain a friendly and community-minded relationship with everyone who crosses. The company has no desire to report all cases of runners but it also has to protect its employees’ health and welfare. They simply ask that all passengers respect the collectors, pay the toll, proceed with caution, and observe the 15 mph speed limit while approaching the bridge and while crossing the beautiful Delaware River.

Be aware that all areas of the bridge and collection area are under constant camera surveillance. Drivers are unlikely to outrun a camera.

The bridge company wishes everyone safe passage.

Fun facts about the bridge:
The Dingmans Ferry Bridge is the last privately owned toll bridge on the Delaware River and one of the last few in the United States.
The first crossing at that spot was a ferry established in 1735 by Andrew Dingman.
1836, the first bridge was built by the Dingman family. Under the terms of its charter, churchgoers, schoolchildren, and funeral processions were given free passage, a condition that is still in effect today.
The current bridge was constructed at the turn of the 20th century, using some materials recycled from a railroad bridge on the Susquehanna River.