Red Traffic Light

What is the law on driving through a red light?

No part of your vehicle must cross the white painted stop line when the red or amber lights are illuminated

Regulations 33 to 52 of the Traffic Signals Regulations and General Directions 2002

Although the rules are that you should stop on amber, realistically, you will only be prosecuted if the Police can prove that any part of your vehicle crossed the white stop line when the red light was illuminated.

How do the Police prove the offence?

Although the incident can be witnessed by a Police Officer, most offences are recorded by traffic light cameras which take two photographs. The first photograph shows your vehicle crossing the stop line when the light is red, and the second shows that it has passed the stop line whilst the light is still red, so there can be no suggestion the vehicle actually came to a halt. These offences are "absolute", meaning that if the Police can show that the light was red when you crossed the stop line, the offence will be proved.

What is the penalty for driving through a red light?

3 penalty points and a fine that ranges from £100 to £1,000, subject to your plea, circumstances, means and mitigation.

Do I face disqualification?

Red traffic light offences can result in immediate disqualification. If you did not receive / accept a Fixed Penalty Notice, it is likely that the Court will be considering a more severe penalty to include an instant ban.

Why did I not receive 3 points/£100 Fixed Penalty Notice?

Failing to comply with a red traffic signal is normally resolved by a 3 points / £100 Fixed Penalty Notice. If you did not receive that option and have received a Single Justice Procedure Notice, it is because the Police consider the case too serious to be resolved without a Court hearing. This is normally due to the "time exposed to red" i.e. how long the red light had been illuminated when the offence occurred.

Are there any viable defences?

Traffic signal offences are "absolute" meaning you are guilty of the allegation if you cross the stop line against a red light. It is not a defence to suggest that you had to go through because there was another vehicle immediately behind you, or the lights changed as you reached the stop line. Whilst it is not a defence to say that you moved to allow an emergency vehicle through, that may amount to special reasons, which could avoid a penalty. If you believe that you had no option but to cross the line against a red light, seek guidance now to clarify your plea / approach.

Is there any point submitting mitigation?

Yes. Although the number of penalty points is set, mitigation can reduce the fine and minimise the risk of the Court demanding a personal attendance or even considering disqualification.