Home > Driver Offences > Running a Red Light

Running a Red Light

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 20 May 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Penalty Licence Red Light Safety Camera

The majority of people caught ‘jumping’ a red light are caught out by the dreaded yellow peril: a safety camera. If a vehicle is snapped going through a red light, then the registered keeper can expect to receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) through the post within 14 days of the alleged offence.

I got a ‘Conditional Offer’ – What Does this Mean?

Many straightforward offences of this nature are dealt with by way of a conditional offer of a Fixed Penalty Notice. This means that a form is sent out alongside the NIP that asks the registered keeper to name the driver at the time the offence was committed. Essentially, it asks them to provide an admission of guilt, and in return, offers a fixed penalty charge rather than a trip to court.

How Much is it Going to Cost Me?

Currently, the minimum penalty for failing to stop at a red light is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points, but if you believe you have mitigating circumstances, or that the penalty has been issued incorrectly, you do have the right of appeal.

One of the most common routes of appeal against this type of offence comes under the Paragraph 4 – Unsure of Driver clause. This means that the registered keeper doesn’t know who was driving the car at the time the offence was committed. This is what the Road Traffic Act 1988 has to say about it:

Section 172 (Paragraph 4) Road Traffic Act 1988; section 172(2(a)) : the person keeping the vehicle shall give such information as to the identity of the driver as he may be required to give by or on behalf of a chief officer of police.

It Then Goes on to Say:

(4) A person shall not be guilty of an offence by virtue of paragraph (a) of subsection (2) above if he shows that he did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained who the driver of the vehicle was.

What does this mean in English? Basically it means that you have to have made a reasonable effort in trying to figure out who was driving the car. What ‘reasonable diligence’ is, is open to debate by the court – if it gets that far, and most cases don’t!

What Do I do Next?

Respond in writing to the ticket office telling them that you aren’t sure who was driving the car at the time, give your reasons, and request a copy of the photographic evidence. Make sure that you do this in plenty of time and send any correspondence by recorded delivery.

Once the photographs arrive you will know if the driver is identifiable. Often, the photographs are of very poor quality and sometimes they are taken from the rear of the vehicle so you still cannot tell who is driving the car.

If the photographic evidence is inconclusive it is debatable whether or not you should sign the NIP, as it is effectively an admission of guilt and could potentially be brought up against you as such if the case goes to court.

I Still Can’t Tell Who Was Driving?

In this case what you should do is write a letter explaining that, despite your best endeavours, you are unable to identify the driver. Explain that both drivers have seen the images, but neither of them are clear as to which it actually is. Include the following sentence (or similar):Under section 172 of the Road Traffic 1988, I have a responsibility to determine to the best of my ability who was driving the vehicle at the time the offence was committed. As required by 172(4), I have exercised reasonable diligence, but am still unable to ascertain who it is that was driving the car. Include the names/addresses of any potential drivers and word the letter in a friendly, but firm, tone.

Why Would this Work?

It would be difficult for a magistrate to convict a registered keeper who has been seen to do everything in their power to ascertain who was driving the car. After all, if you have done everything you can to figure out who was driving, and they can’t prove otherwise, how can they reasonably convict you?

If you do decide to go ahead to challenge the penalty in court, do remember that if things don’t go your way, the Magistrate will determine any fine and/or penalty points awarded. They can increase the fine and the number of penalty points that go onto your licence just as easily as they can reduce them – and you might also end up having to pay the court costs, too.

Gaining Legal Advice

If you have been charged with a driving offence, you should take advice from a solicitor. Read our article Driving Offences And Legal Representation for more information.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hi I went through a amber light witch could have changed to red seconds as I went past it but not sure also had a red light camera pointing towards it this happend 6/05/18 and still haven’t heard anything but changed my address and v5 about 1 month ago will it still come to my new address if I do get a fine thanks
Boris - 20-May-18 @ 1:16 AM
Chloebow - Your Question:
I accidentally ran a red light beacuse it was on the exit of a roundabout and I thought a car was going to pull out on me at one of the exits so I wasn’t concentrating, I have only been driving for about a year. If I was caught on camera, what is likely to happen?

Our Response:
The most likely penalty will be a 3 points plus £100 fine but there's always the possibility that you may be offered a driver/safety awareness course (these are offered at the discretion of the police).
NoPenaltyPoints - 15-May-18 @ 10:34 AM
I was pulled by a constable at 0330 for having no insurance on his system, it was fully insured as I showed him, however, he then said I ran a red light!!! And wrote a ticket out? Wtf, I did not jump a red and was wondering without evidence surely he can't prosecute me? This is malicious.
Kenny - 13-May-18 @ 10:10 AM
I accidentally ran a red light beacuse it was on the exit of a roundabout and I thought a car was going to pull out on me at one of the exits so I wasn’t concentrating, I have only been driving for about a year. If I was caught on camera, what is likely to happen?
Chloebow - 11-May-18 @ 6:30 AM
Sm9 - Your Question:
Hi there, this morning I crossed a traffic light that had already turned Amber for a few seconds and I’m unsure it if was red when I actually went over the line. There was a black rectangular box directly on top of the traffic light (much like the one in the image used on this page). I’ve been told it’s just a sensor but I’m still worried. Could it be a traffic light camera?

Our Response:
It could be, we really can't say for sure. If you were captured on camera running a red light, you should hear within 14 days assuming you are the registered keeper of the vehicle and haven't changed address or vehicle recently.
NoPenaltyPoints - 8-May-18 @ 3:40 PM
Hi there, this morning I crossed a traffic light that had already turned Amber for a few seconds and I’m unsure it if was red when I actually went over the line. There was a black rectangular box directly on top of the traffic light (much like the one in the image used on this page). I’ve been told it’s just a sensor but I’m still worried. Could it be a traffic light camera?
Sm9 - 7-May-18 @ 9:57 AM
I been waiting to turn right long time. But its not been changed. Then I turn Right when the straight traffic are stop with the red light. When Straight traffic stop right turn light became green. I GONNA get anything. Please let me know.
Ringko - 6-May-18 @ 11:06 AM
Mills - Your Question:
After taking my exit at the roundabout, the traffic lights turned to flashing amber, straight after, I believe 10 seconds later, I unknowingly went through a red light, Is this an offence? I’m a new driver.

Our Response:
Ifthe light was already red when you passed it, yes it's an offence. The usual penalty for running a red light is 3 points plus £100 fine.
NoPenaltyPoints - 2-May-18 @ 2:51 PM
After taking my exit at the roundabout, the traffic lights turned to flashing amber, straight after, I believe 10 seconds later, I unknowingly went through a red light, Is this an offence? I’m a new driver.
Mills - 30-Apr-18 @ 10:40 PM
Jacko - Your Question:
My company has had a NIP with the reg. On the van I had been given. This van went through a red light 29.5 seconds after the light went red.Now we share van I haven't made a note that someone had taken my van. So my company have sent me details to the police. I have looked at the picture and you cannot tell who is driving.The want to take me to court because of how long after the light turned red. So no offer of fixed penalty points or the workshop. What should I do? Do I admit fault or fight it?

Our Response:
AS it's likely to go to court, do some research. Find out if there is a record of the jobs you did that day, where you went, who else uses the van etc. Presesnt all this information especially if you think it wasn't you driving. It would be advisable to consult a motoring lawyer before attending court.
NoPenaltyPoints - 30-Apr-18 @ 3:02 PM
Well things didn’t go as intended even though a case was made that it was difficult to identify the driver as it could’ve been my mother or myself and a year having gone by.Photographic evidence was also requested which proved useless as it was taken from behind. Despite sending all correspondence via registered mail and repeated statements that I do not know the driver at the time of the incident, the legal owner was given 6 penalty points and a total fine of £450 for “failure to give information relating to the identification of the driver”.
Mo - 28-Apr-18 @ 8:47 PM
My company has had a NIP with the reg. On the van I had been given. This van went through a red light 29.5 seconds after the light went red. Now we share van i haven't made a note that someone had taken my van. So my company have sent me details to the police. I have looked at the picture and you cannot tell who is driving. The want to take me to court because of how long after the light turned red. So no offer of fixed penalty points or the workshop. What should I do? Do i admit fault or fight it?
Jacko - 28-Apr-18 @ 7:07 PM
sunnymead - Your Question:
I received an NIP my partner was driving. I sent it back with his address and name. He received nothing. 3 years on (last month) he got a letter saying they are taking 961 from his wages. He has had no correspondence. He called the DVLA to find he has ?MS90: Failure to give information as to identity of driver etc?Penalty points: 6?Fine: £660.00

Our Response:
Seek professional legal advice about this. He may have to go to court to say he didn't receive any correspondence.
NoPenaltyPoints - 27-Apr-18 @ 2:28 PM
Dan Outcast - Your Question:
Hi - on a snowy night I overran a red light by 15 seconds. I have now been sent the letter by the police and have pleaded guilty. What is the likely penalty?

Our Response:
It could be 3 points plus £100 fine but 15 seconds is pretty significant and could beconsidered careless/dangerous driving which might result in a steeper penalty.
NoPenaltyPoints - 27-Apr-18 @ 10:24 AM
I received an NIP my partner was driving. I sent it back with his address and name. He received nothing. 3 years on (last month) he got a letter saying they are taking 961 from his wages. He has had no correspondence. He called the DVLA to find he has ?MS90: Failure to give information as to identity of driver etc ?Penalty points: 6 ?Fine: £660.00
sunnymead - 24-Apr-18 @ 10:06 PM
Hi - on a snowy night I overran a red light by 15 seconds. I have now been sent the letter by the police and have pleaded guilty. What is the likely penalty?
Dan Outcast - 24-Apr-18 @ 11:27 AM
Hi can someone advise me on the following please?I was driving home this evening behind a massive lorry and a van and I entered the intersection just after the light went orange so couldn't really stop and I was almost over the intersection when the lorry or a car in front of it must have slowed to let traffic into the road at a slip road that is shortly after the traffic lights not thinking about all the cars driving behind them and as a result the enormous long lorry slowed right down and I was caught just in the intersection and saw the light flash behind me just as the lorry started to move again.I'm feeling very upset about this because I could not have anticipated that the traffic would suddenly stop when it was flowing quite normally at around 40mph.
LB1 - 23-Apr-18 @ 6:03 PM
Scotty - Your Question:
Got flashed at a set of traffic lights by a speedcurb camera, I stopped a couple of metres beyond the line. It's been about 3 weeks now and I haven't got a NIP yet, is there a deadline to send them out or does this mean that I'm not going to get one? I was thinking the spare wheel on the back of my car (Daihatsu terios) might be obscuring the picture because the camera is mounted very high.

Our Response:
If you are the registered keeper of the vehicle and have not changed vehicle or address recently, you should receive an NIP within 14 days of the offence.
NoPenaltyPoints - 18-Apr-18 @ 2:50 PM
Got flashed at a set of traffic lights by a speedcurb camera, I stopped a couple of metres beyond the line. It's been about 3 weeks now and I haven't got a NIP yet, is there a deadline to send them out or does this mean that I'm not going to get one? I was thinking the spare wheel on the back of my car (Daihatsu terios) might be obscuring the picture because the camera is mounted very high.
Scotty - 17-Apr-18 @ 5:19 PM
Sam - Your Question:
I had a intend to prosecute letter for going through a red light at 3.2 seconds. I dont remember doing and normally very careful with a clean licence, been driving 29 years. Ive had the pin code to see evidence and yes it was me so will do a guilty plea as it says offence to high for fixed penalty.A TS10 is 3 points but on the letter it states 6 points or disqualification. What is the normal points for this? I am worried that I will be disqualified and I have a sick/disabled daughter to which I had travelled 2 hours that day to an unknown area to get to her, my concentration was probably not as it should have been. I cant afford to have a disqualfication as im a single parent with a sick child who is away and 2 in uni living at home and I have to work to help support them also to keep my keep my home. I just about break even finacially each month so a heavy fine will also be difficult Would my circumstances be mitigating as I had to travel to take my daughter to the GP?

Our Response:
The usual penalty for running a red light is indeed 3 points plus £100 fine, but the court always has discretionary power to order a higher penalty or disqualification - perhaps this is because of the significant time lapse (3.2 seconds) in your case? It might be worth speaking to a motoring lawyer to see if you can claim mitigating circumstances, look around to see if you can find one that will offer a free first half hour consultation.
NoPenaltyPoints - 16-Apr-18 @ 11:10 AM
I had a intend to prosecute letter for going through a red light at 3.2 seconds. I dont remember doing and normally very careful with a clean licence, been driving 29 years. Ive had the pin code to see evidence and yes it was me so will do a guilty plea as it says offence to high for fixed penalty. A TS10 is 3 points but on the letter it states 6 points or disqualification. What is the normal points for this? I am worried that i will be disqualified and i have a sick/disabled daughter to which i had travelled 2 hours that day to an unknown area to get to her, my concentration was probably not as it should have been. I cant afford to have a disqualfication as im a single parent with a sick child who is away and 2 in uni living at home and i have to work to help support them also to keep my keep my home. I just about break even finacially each month so a heavy fine will also be difficult Would my circumstances be mitigating as i had to travel to take my daughter to the GP?
Sam - 13-Apr-18 @ 9:41 AM
Brian - Your Question:
I went through a red light by accident the other night. However I feel it was the traffic signals fault. The Signals are on a 40mph limit. I was only traveling about 30mph, I was on approach the lights were on green, I got to the stop line and the lights changed suddenly in about one second they went from green through amber( which usually stays on for a couple of seconds but didn't) then to red all in the space of a second whilst I was right on top of the stop line. I could have slammed on the brakes but everything including my two dogs and two cats who were in the car as well as a load of items such as heavy based saucepans would have flown forward and either hit us in the head, or gone through the windscreen. Will I still get done for it even though to stop could have caused more carnage.

Our Response:
Traffic lights usually have a timer which would measure the time your vehicle passed after the light changed. It may be that you don't hear anything further. If you do, it might be easier to get a professional's (motoring lawyer) opinion to assess the chances of a successful appeal.
NoPenaltyPoints - 10-Apr-18 @ 2:31 PM
I went through a red light by accident the other night. However I feel it was the traffic signals fault. The Signals are on a 40mph limit. I was only traveling about 30mph, I was on approach the lights were on green, I got to the stop line and the lights changed suddenly in about one second they went from green through amber( which usually stays on for a couple of seconds but didn't) then to red all in the space of a second whilst I was right on top of the stop line. I could have slammed on the brakes but everything including my two dogs and two cats who were in the car as well as a load of items such as heavy based saucepans would have flown forward and either hit us in the head, or gone through the windscreen.Will I still get done for it even though to stop could have caused more carnage.
Brian - 9-Apr-18 @ 7:34 PM
Stupidly went through a red light at 51mph in a 40 because was in a rush, what should i expect?
Niamh - 4-Apr-18 @ 4:12 PM
As soon as a i crossed the yellow trafic light i saw it turn red will anything happen?
Bayrame - 31-Mar-18 @ 5:01 PM
Hi my 18 year old daughter this morning received a NIP about going through a red light stating red was on for 33.3 seconds She was sat stationary at the red light, when she inadvertently thought the lights had turned green for her to go when actually it was the filter light for the lane next to her that had changed to green, she immediately realised what she had done and stopped at the next set of traffic lights which are immediately after the first set. She has only had her licence for 1 month what is the likley outcome of this.
Dc - 27-Mar-18 @ 7:24 PM
Westy - Your Question:
I went through a red light by one second as it's company car it went to the business before me. It happened 23/1/18 and I received notice 20/3/18. Can or should I speak this?

Our Response:
No you can't appeal if the NIP went to the registered keeper first.
NoPenaltyPoints - 26-Mar-18 @ 10:54 AM
To the below. Should I appeal this or would it not be worth it?
Westy - 23-Mar-18 @ 11:31 AM
I went through a red light by one second as it's company car it went to the business before me. It happened 23/1/18 and I received notice 20/3/18. Can or should I speak this?
Westy - 23-Mar-18 @ 11:29 AM
Paulcasti - Your Question:
Hi! I ran a red light as I was looking at my speed till I realised that the stop light was on red and it was too late for me to stop but I slowed down as soon as I realised that I just ran a red light and waited to see of there was gonna but a flash from the camera but I didnt see it go off. Am I safe? If not and I get an letter from the post 14 days from now what do I do?

Our Response:
We can't say whether you were caught or not, but if you are the registered keeper and haven't changed vechile/address recently, you will hear within 14 days. The usual penalty for running a red light is £100 plus 3 penalty points.
NoPenaltyPoints - 21-Mar-18 @ 2:16 PM
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