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Running a Red Light

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 27 Mar 2017 | 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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[Add a Comment]
I was waiting at a two lane light system (one lane going straight one lane going right) I was in the lane to move right when the forward moving lane turned green I went by accident thinking it was my light turning green I realised 5 metres after the lights and reversed back to my lane and waited for the right hand lane light to turn green. What could happen as I had amended my mistake and no danger was around
Bdc - 27-Mar-17 @ 11:55 AM
SamanthaE - Your Question:
Hi, I made a right turn at orange light. As I was turning into the street I niticed a police car standing stationary right in the front of traffic waiting to move at the green light after. Then I felt a flash coming out from that car. Is it possible that they have taken my picture or recorded video? Is it an offence to move when the light just turned orange from green?

Our Response:
"AMBER means ‘Stop’ at the stop line. You may go on only if the AMBER appears after you have crossed the stop line or are so close to it that to pull up might cause an accident"
NoPenaltyPoints - 22-Mar-17 @ 2:32 PM
Nick - Your Question:
Police stopped me and said I went through red light, I believe it was yellow and then going to red it would have been dangerous for me to stop all of sudden as I was carrying a passenger at the time. He made me step out my vehicle and accused me of having drugs in my car (im a taxi driver) I asked for evidence of me apparently going through red he showed me on video the traffic lights going green but my car wasn't on his video. Also was accused of "going 40mph" when no speed was recorded!Police have sent a letter 2 months later for a conditional offer of 3 penalty points and 100£ fine or I can go to court they have said "Drive motor vehicle fail comply with red traffic signal/ lane closure light signals - manual detection RT88758" what does that mean?

Our Response:
It means you failed to comply with a red traffic signal and/or a lane closure light signal. The numbers must be just a code that they use we assume. You can pay the fine and take 3 points on your licence or take it to court if you want to object.
NoPenaltyPoints - 21-Mar-17 @ 11:49 AM
Steve - Your Question:
I ran a red light 3 weeks ago, I did get flashed but haven't received anything through the post yet. dose anybody know if the camera's flash whether they still have film left or not and should I have received the notification by now or not.In short do I have anything to worry about?

Our Response:
You would normally have received an NIP within 14 days of the offence assuming you are the owner of the vehicle (registered keeper) and have not changed address or vehicle in the last couple of months.
NoPenaltyPoints - 20-Mar-17 @ 2:33 PM
Hi, I made a right turn at orange light. As I was turning into the street I niticed a police car standing stationary right in the front of traffic waiting to move at the green light after. Then I felt a flash coming out from that car. Is it possible that they have taken my picture or recorded video? Is it an offence to move when the light just turned orange from green?
SamanthaE - 20-Mar-17 @ 9:07 AM
Police stopped me and said i went through red light, i believe it was yellow and then going to red it would have been dangerous for me to stop all of sudden as i was carrying a passenger at the time. He made me step out my vehicle and accused me of having drugs in my car (im a taxi driver) i asked for evidence of me apparently going through red he showed me on video the traffic lights going green but my car wasn't on his video. Also was accused of "going 40mph" when no speed was recorded! Police have sent a letter 2 months later for a conditional offer of 3 penalty points and 100£ fine or i can go to court they have said "Drive motor vehicle fail comply with red traffic signal/ lane closure light signals - manual detection RT88758" what does that mean?
Nick - 18-Mar-17 @ 2:01 PM
I ran a red light 3 weeks ago, I did get flashed but haven't received anything through the post yet. dose anybody know if the camera's flash whether they still have film left or not and should I have received the notification by now or not. In short do I have anything to worry about?
Steve - 17-Mar-17 @ 11:42 PM
I just received a letter stating I had jumped a red light, I was in a part of London that I don't know and was following anot her vehicle to get to the burial ground for the person whose funeral I was attending. What will happen to me, as I am worried and I am going on holiday in a few weeks and may not be here when they write back to me.
Ela - 16-Mar-17 @ 1:18 PM
JJ - Your Question:
Hi I got a letter saying that I ran the red light but that was the date I was having my test. would I still get fine and points for it? how do I justify that I was still learning?

Our Response:
The fact that you were still learning will not be considered as a reason to reject a penalty. Were you in an instructor's car? Double check the time of the offence and make sure it was definitely you and not another driver using the car on the same day. If it was you, you will just have to admit to it.
NoPenaltyPoints - 10-Mar-17 @ 12:44 PM
hi I got a letter saying that i ran the red light but that was the date I was having my test. would i still get fine and points for it? how do i justify that I was still learning?
JJ - 9-Mar-17 @ 8:43 PM
Last evening i was emerging a trafic lights wich was about to go red there was no stop lines seen on the road so i stoped in front of juction as seen flashing light on back of my car, i hadnt emerged to the junction and car was stationary so if i went too close to the junction but still stoped and waited for the lights to change and get flashed by camera, hows that gona work? What should i expect any chances to prove that i was stationary in front of junction? It was in st neots town that i work
Bmw320 - 6-Mar-17 @ 6:46 AM
I stopped at a red light at the Crooked Billet roundabout in Staines. In a momentary lapse of concentration I started to move forward when the repeater lights further on turned green. Imoved about halfway/2 thirds of the way past the red lights when I realised what I'd done & then reversed back to where I'd originally stopped. I didn't see any cameras flash but does anyone know if I will get the benefit of the doubt over this because my car hadn't gone all the way through the red lights?
Trevor Phillips - 4-Mar-17 @ 5:15 PM
Lurdes - Your Question:
What's happen if I go straight ahead through the right turning light is read, and the straight ahead light it is green?

Our Response:
If you're in the correct lane for proceeding straight ahead then there is no problem with doing so if the "straight ahead" light is green.
NoPenaltyPoints - 23-Feb-17 @ 10:32 AM
What's happen if I gostraight ahead through the right turning lightis read, and the straight ahead light it is green?
Lurdes - 22-Feb-17 @ 1:58 AM
I've come home to a letter from West Yorkshire Police saying I ran a red light last Saturday at 13.00 - when I was over 100miles away. The letter says that there is a photographic record. I am sure that the image will show a different make and model of car as I have never been to Bradford in my life and at the time I was in my local pharmacy picking up a prescription in Birmingham. What should I do - call or write?
MarkH - 16-Feb-17 @ 8:36 PM
ste - Your Question:
I have stopped at red light on a road I know very well, I know the lights are about to change and I start to edge forward ready to go, the amber light shows and I go.seconds later a police car pulls me in and gives me ticket for going through red light, I don't think I did anything wrong and should I appeal this ticket.

Our Response:
You're supposed to wait until the light is green before moving on?
NoPenaltyPoints - 14-Feb-17 @ 1:57 PM
fiatpunto8001 - Your Question:
Hi everyone, I was driving last night when a driver was being quite dangerous behind me and then pulled infront of me and got out. We were both at the traffic lights. My only instinct was to pull off, for my own safety. I went straight through a red light. I didn't see any cameras etc. What are my options?I've only been driving since October 2016, will I loose my license? Will I get points

Our Response:
If you have proof of this, it may be accepted as a mitigating circumstance for running a light.
NoPenaltyPoints - 14-Feb-17 @ 12:11 PM
I have stopped at red light on a road i know very well, i know the lights are about to change and i start to edge forward ready to go, the amber light shows and i go. seconds later a police car pulls me in and gives me ticket for going through red light, i don't think i did anything wrong and should i appeal this ticket.
ste - 13-Feb-17 @ 1:48 PM
Hi everyone, I was driving last night when a driver was being quite dangerous behind me and then pulled infront of me and got out. We were both at the traffic lights. My only instinct was to pull off, for my own safety. I went straight through a red light. I didn't see any cameras etc. What are my options? I've only been driving since October 2016, will I loose my license? Will I get points
fiatpunto8001 - 13-Feb-17 @ 9:08 AM
Hi AJ I am a traffic Police Officer and to be honest with you, you are probably looking at some form of custodial sentence for this. It is due to you not having your licence a full year yet. You are looking at no more than 12 to 18 months and your driving licence will be revoked. You may get out of prison early for good behaviour but you will have to wait until the full sentence time has passed before you can retake your tests.So lets say you get the full 18 months, you could end up only serving 10 months in prison but you would still have to wait till the full 18 month period has passed before you could reapply to take both your theory and practical tests again. Bare in mind that the tests you retake will have to achieve a minimum pass mark which is usually 25% higher than that of your previous tests. Cheers.
Squidgy - 9-Feb-17 @ 6:37 PM
I stopped at a pedestrian crossing red light but for some reason after the people had crossed I went again before the lights turned green. No idea why I did this ! Anyway lights had small black box on top. Is this a sensor or camera? Am I likely to have been "caught" ? I have no defenceand would accept that I did wrong but just wondering what the boxes are.
Wen - 2-Feb-17 @ 12:39 PM
i got flashed running a red light 3 weeks ago on Lewisham Way in South East London. I was kicking myself when i did it because i only just passed my test 2 months ago. For some reason i assumed i had loads of time to make the light but it turned red when i was like 2 metres away from the line doing 28 in a 30. The camera light flashed twice and my heart sunk. The next two weeks was dreadful, every letter that came in my name had me sweating and panicking "how am i going to explain to friends and family that i got 3 points within 2 months of driving?" Luckily the NIP never turned up and i could finally relax, reflect and put my amber gambler days behind me for good. Just relax, just because you have been flashed does not mean you are definately going to recieve a NIP, im guessing my offence wasn't deemed serious enough to pursue or maybe the myth is true and alot of speed and traffic cameras are just dummies...
M Green - 2-Feb-17 @ 4:58 AM
Long shot but i was on the a10 saw blue lights in my mirror then lights turned red and many know the a10 is busy all the time so as they hit red i thought if i stop they wont get through so carried on got a letter pleaded guilty etc but want to know if in future i see blue lights and the traffic lights change do i stop to avoid a fine and points and hold up the emergency services or carry on to let them through amd get fined for them maybe saving a life but leaving me banned and skint
Damo - 25-Jan-17 @ 8:25 PM
Hi there, Around 4 weeks ago (mid December) I received information to advise that I had run a red light back in August. Baring in mind this was within the first month of passing my driving test. I am a totally honest person and would happily admit if I had completed any wrong doing. As I was approaching the lights they turned amber and given the time it would have taken to brake and how close I was to the line - I deemed it safer to clear the line than to harshly break with a vehicle following closely behind. Following from this, I have only been offered the fixed term penalty of 3 points and a £100.00 fine or to contest this in court. I called the Police Enquirers team regarding this and asked why I had not been offered a course. The woman advised that I had not updated my Log Book to advise I was the person responsible. From my knowledge I was fully aware that all my details were correct (harsh lesson to learn). The woman added that a course would have only been offered within 4 months from the offence date, but since it took 6 months for them to contact me a course would not be an option (why did it take them so long to contact me??) I am a new driver as per 7.5 months, which understandably I was a less-confident on the road in my first month compared to now. I advised that since the offence, there has been no other offence or any claim against my vehicle. I personally feel that this is extremely harsh as my insurance is going to rocket sky high, especially as I also have a black box fitted. What options do I have, if any?
Jake - 17-Jan-17 @ 4:19 PM
Hi there, Around 4 weeks ago (mid December) I received information to advise that I had run a red light back in August. Baring in mind this was within the first month of passing my driving test. I am a totally honest person and would happily admit if I had completed any wrong doing. As I was approaching the lights they turned amber and given the time it would have taken to brake and how close I was to the line - I deemed it safer to clear the line than to harshly break with a vehicle following closely behind. Following from this, I have only been offered the fixed term penalty of 3 points and a £100.00 fine or to contest this in court. I called the Police Enquirers team regarding this and asked why I had not been offered a course. The woman advised that I had not updated my Log Book to advise I was the person responsible. From my knowledge I was fully aware that all my details were correct (harsh lesson to learn). The woman added that a course would have only been offered within 4 months from the offence date, but since it took 6 months for them to contact me a course would not be an option (why did it take them so long to contact me??) I am a new driver as per 7.5 months, which understandably I was a less-confident on the road in my first month compared to now. I advised that since the offence, there has been no other offence or any claim against my vehicle. I personally feel that this is extremely harsh as my insurance is going to rocket sky high, especially as I also have a black box fitted. What options do I have, if any?
Jake - 17-Jan-17 @ 3:38 PM
Hi, Recently ran a red light although I could have sworn it was green. never the less I didn't argue and told them I was sorry and such. How long does it take for a fine to come through? Do you have to go through court? Can they actually put point on a Dutch license (mine was only a point lincese for first 5 years and I'm almost driving for 10)
Suzie - 14-Jan-17 @ 12:25 AM
Shame on you idiots everywhere
Idiots - 12-Jan-17 @ 9:36 PM
Hi I was on my way home at night on the A13 doing 40mph just before the Dagenham flyover. I was approaching lights when they turned amber so I applied my brakes but was already past the line and in the way of on coming traffic from my left before I could come to a complete stop so I felt like it was dangerous to stay where I was so I had to keep driving and was flashed. I have a pregnant wife and she was present in the vehicle at the time so I was very careful and aware of my driving. I didn't want to cause her injury by excessive and harsh braking or cause a accident or injury to other drivers on the road. Do you think I have grounds to contest this if it dose come through?
Ry - 7-Jan-17 @ 10:34 PM
Hi, 1was waiting at the traffic lights to turn right light were red. Im waiting changed to green I start driving half way lights turn red I stopped. The cars comming along flash me to clear the junction so I had no choice I moved then straight away an unmarked police vehicle follows me all the way home. I reached home dey pull up come out of the vehicle I roll my window down and the officer said do you know why we followed you I said yes because the lights had changed I stopped then the driver flashed me to clear the junction. The lights just changed so suddenly while im driving through the junction I wasn't speeding He said you know you can get 3 points I said yes. Then dey left.
sham - 3-Jan-17 @ 12:32 AM
I was driving on the A12 at night, i was going about 40mph and the light went amber. i put my brakes on as there was a camera on the light but the car behind me had his full beams on and i couldn't tell how close it was so i ran the red light as i thought it was dangerous for me to stop and i got flashed. Little concerned now as i had my license for under a year. What are the options i have?
AJ - 30-Dec-16 @ 12:03 AM
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