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Running a Red Light

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 26 Jun 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'm 23 years old and passed driving test 18mths ago. I've already done a speed awareness course for speeding and didn't get any points on my licence. I have just received a letter to supply driver details as I went through a red light 1.1secs late doing 58mph in a 40 zone on the Wirral. What do you think will happen. Will I get summoned to court? I know that if I get 6 points my licence will be cancelled. I need my car for work and not sure what to do?
PMC - 26-Jun-17 @ 6:44 PM
I have been given an NIP after saying I ran a red light within 0 seconds of it changing to red! Can I contest this?
W - 21-Jun-17 @ 2:55 PM
Unfortunately I ran a red light due to rushing, (1.6 secs) so I am at fault but I received 2 intentionof prosecution letters for the one offence. I completed both and wrote a letter to enquire whetherthe offence had been duplicated. I received back an offer to attend a safety course and the next day a conditional offer of a fixed penalty. Can I be prosecuted twice for the one offence? Obviously I have to respond to both letters, any advice would be gratefully appreciated.
Jackswan - 21-Jun-17 @ 1:24 PM
Ive commented previously, since then I've been issued a letter saying I should receive a court summons within the next 6months. I was 18.9 seconds in the red light when I ran through I've been driving less then 2 years am I likely to loose my licence.
Jonzeyboi22 - 17-Jun-17 @ 4:11 PM
Tommy - Your Question:
While turning right in a road.I suddenly found a red light.I ran the red light by mistake.I reversed back immediately.and moved when it became green.I am a new driver and scared of the 3 point penalty.How can I know if I got penslised or no asap without waiting for the letter will come by post office?

Our Response:
There is not really anyway of knowing this apart from waiting to see whether an NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) arrives. There is a 14 day upper limit for this to arrive, so you will know after a couple of weeks.
NoPenaltyPoints - 16-Jun-17 @ 12:53 PM
I got a letter saying I went through a red light by 1.3 seconds but due to moving I have lost the letter to reply to say I was driving, what do I do?
Hans - 14-Jun-17 @ 9:09 PM
I received a letter saying I ran a red light by 1.3 seconds, due to moving I have lost the letter what do I do to notify them that it was me driving
Hans - 14-Jun-17 @ 9:09 PM
While turning right in a road.I suddenly found a red light .I ran the red light by mistake .I reversed back immediately.and moved when it became green. I am a new driver and scared of the 3 point penalty. How can I know if i got penslised or no asap without waiting for the letter will come by post office?
Tommy - 14-Jun-17 @ 12:50 AM
Jonsey19 - Your Question:
I've been caught running a red light , I was 18 seconds over (long time I know) I wasn't in a area I was familiar in trying to get in the correct lane checking I was going the right way ect) I didn't see the first lot of lights An drove up to the second lot of lights. Will I be taken to court or just issued the fine and points ?

Our Response:
The most common penalty for running a red light is £100 fine plus 3 penalty points (occasionally a driver awareness course is offered). The length of time over is quite long and so the case might be taken more seriously. If it goes to court, you might be able to plea mitigating circumstances but those you describe are not likely to be successful really.
NoPenaltyPoints - 13-Jun-17 @ 12:01 PM
I've been caught running a red light , I was 18 seconds over (long time I know) I wasn't in a area I was familiar in trying to get in the correct lane checking I was going the right way ect) I didn't see the first lot of lights An drove up to the second lot of lights. Will I be taken to court or just issued the fine and points ?
Jonsey19 - 10-Jun-17 @ 1:57 PM
Floo - Your Question:
Today I got an 'inention to prosecute' letter as I was snapped running a red light. This is my first year of driving and first offence. What can I expect to get as a punishment? I'm so scared of losing my license! (I know, it's my fault)

Our Response:
You might be given 3 points plus £100 fine, or the offer of a driver awareness course (this is an option only the police can decide to offer).
NoPenaltyPoints - 24-May-17 @ 12:25 PM
Today I got an 'inention to prosecute' letter as I was snapped running a red light. This is my first year of driving and first offence. What can I expect to get as a punishment? I'm so scared of losing my license! (I know, it's my fault)
Floo - 23-May-17 @ 3:11 PM
Hi , I am full time hgv driver, last year I was drunk and sleeping in my car and key was in ignition, police came there and arrested, I been to court and judge gave me 10 points on licence and fine , recently I just crossed red light while driving truck , now I received a letter from police and they are asking for my details , what will happen ?, they will cancel my licence ? Is there anything I can do so they don't give points on my licence , please help me and let me know is there anything I can do to save my licence ?
Prince - 20-May-17 @ 11:55 PM
Ali- Your Question:
Tonight a red light camera flashed on me but I didn't crossed the red light I just stopped my car on top of the white line only my car front tyre on top of white line and then the camera flashed on me in this accident What will be happening to me ?Please answer I'm very in tensions Thanks and sorry for my English

Our Response:
We don't know what/whether action will be taken but generally your entire vehicle should be behind the white line.
NoPenaltyPoints - 15-May-17 @ 12:58 PM
I crossed red light sign twice in two consecutive days on 28th and 29th April 2017 .it is second month of my lisence First one happened because roads were empty and I didn't notice red light Second one I was below red sign and I didn't notice that it turned red . Today was 14th day I didn't drive these 14 days its just stressing and depressive when you are waiting for it . I hope nothing comes cause I didn't noticed any flash light . Can I appeal if I got it on 15th day or after ? Is there any proof of 14 days rule ?
Khan - 13-May-17 @ 12:27 AM
Tonight a red light camera flashed on me but I didn't crossed the redlight i just stopped my car on top of the white line only my car front tyre on top of white lineand then the camera flashed on me in this accident What will be happening to me ? Please answer I'm very in tensions Thanks and sorry for my English
Ali - 12-May-17 @ 3:18 AM
Forget to mention that I ran a red light and got caught by the camera. Thanks
Alexgolfmk5 - 29-Apr-17 @ 7:40 PM
I got my licence july 2015 and been driving for about 4 months. Just had a NIP letter show up and im really worried. I was tottaly in the wrong and willing to accept that but im scared of loosing my licence. Is it possible to loose my licence over this? Please answer. Thank you.
Alexgolfmk5 - 29-Apr-17 @ 7:38 PM
I went out in the red light and I got my driver's license for a year and 5 months ... and there is no fault on my license or points ... Will the driver's license be withdrawn? Thank you
Anes - 20-Apr-17 @ 9:31 AM
I went past a traffic light whilst it had just turnt to Amber and the vehicle in front of me slowed down completely. I'm worried that I got caught by the camera as this was a traffic light camera. Do you know the timings / rules for the camera activation? Also, is it 14 working days, or 14 days in general to receive a NIP?
Amanduh - 12-Apr-17 @ 1:45 PM
I was at a light stationary in traffic waiting to pass. My vehicle was halfway across the marker and the camera flashed as it went red but I did not move. I was already at that point when the lights were green then due to car in front waiting for a pedestrian that just walked out into the road I could not get through it went red I stayed I got flashed. Will I get a fine
Mo - 6-Apr-17 @ 3:00 PM
Daniel - Your Question:
I ran in a red light 2days ago. The big problem is because my car is renting from company TOM. And the letter will go there first time and after to me and of course I will be charged. What can I do to pay quick? Who I need to call? Sorry for my english :D

Our Response:
There's not much you can do about this. The NIP will be sent to the registered keeper who will return it with your details. The police will then send an NIP to you at your address. You complete it and then the police will let you know what penalty is applicable. The delay should not make a difference to this.
NoPenaltyPoints - 6-Apr-17 @ 10:59 AM
DavidS - Your Question:
I was on my way to work and I looked at my screen where the radio is as I was leaving the round about. I then looked up and noticed a red light and a women with a child in the road, I wasn't close to hitting them but I went through the red light and I feel very stressed. What will happen?

Our Response:
The penalties for running a red light are shown in the above article. If there was no camera sited at the light you may hear nothing at all. If there was then you should receive notification of this within 14 days of the offence.
NoPenaltyPoints - 5-Apr-17 @ 12:40 PM
I ran in a red light 2days ago. The big problem is because my car is renting from company TOM. And the letter will go there first time and after to me and of course i will be charged. What can i do to pay quick? Who i need to call? Sorry for my english :D
Daniel - 4-Apr-17 @ 5:21 PM
I was on my way to work and I looked at my screen where the radio is as I was leaving the round about. I then looked up and noticed a red light and a women with a child in the road, I wasn't close to hitting them but I went through the red light and I feel very stressed. What will happen?
DavidS - 4-Apr-17 @ 10:38 AM
Sandstorm180 - Your Question:
I took a right turn when my light turned green on to a main road about five metres ahead there is another set of lights, I thought they where the lights for the traffic that was stationary behind me at the main road, as we passed my girlfriend pointed out that it was another set of lights not the same ones, what is the possible punishment for that?

Our Response:
The penalties for running a red light are listed above but you will only be penalised if you are caught by a camera located at the lights, or pulled over at the time by a police officer.
NoPenaltyPoints - 30-Mar-17 @ 11:14 AM
I've only had my license 7 months may I add
Sandstorm180 - 29-Mar-17 @ 1:03 AM
I took a right turn when my light turned green on to a main road about five metres ahead there is another set of lights, I thought they where the lights for the traffic that was stationary behind me at the main road, as we passed my girlfriend pointed out that it was another set of lights not the same ones, what is the possible punishment for that?
Sandstorm180 - 29-Mar-17 @ 12:58 AM
Bdc - Your Question:
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

Our Response:
If it was an automated/camera, your vehicle might have been captured and you could receive an NIP based on this, but we really can't say for sure.
NoPenaltyPoints - 28-Mar-17 @ 12:45 PM
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
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