Home > Driver Offences > Running a Red Light

Running a Red Light

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 17 Jan 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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[Add a Comment]
I was coming upto lights in heavy snow, the lights changed to red, i slowed down but saw a car coming up behind that was skidding, i pulled forward to avoid being hit, the camera flashed twice.
Dean - 17-Jan-18 @ 10:38 PM
Jim- Your Question:
I have been passed 5 months and I went through an amber light, would I be able to take the course instead of the points?

Our Response:
Courses are offered at the discretion of the police...so we can't really say whether you will be offered one or not.
NoPenaltyPoints - 16-Jan-18 @ 2:16 PM
Hi there, I was flashed on red light and I stopped straight away . Basically I couldn’t see the red light but when it flashed I realised and stopped but I’m the side mirror I had seen flashing yello camera and now I’m worried what will happen next and solution If you can guid me about 14 days or course etc
Rehan - 14-Jan-18 @ 9:54 PM
I have been passed 5 months and I went through an amber light, would I be able to take the course instead of the points?
Jim - 13-Jan-18 @ 6:19 PM
Tim - Your Question:
I was driving At night and I saw that the light was changing late and I went through on red but probably by less than a second and I was definitely flashed. I can not afford to take the points as I already have 11 and it’d mean losing my licence what can I do?

Our Response:
If you were captured on camera the most likely penalty would be a fixed penalty on £100 fine plus 3 penalty points. There's a slim chance that a driver awareness course would be offered. You might be able to avoid losing your licence if you attend court and say why you need to keep it...it's worth talking to a motoring lawyer about this though.
NoPenaltyPoints - 8-Jan-18 @ 3:24 PM
I was driving At night and I saw that the light was changing late and I went through on red but probably by less than a second and I was definitely flashed. I can not afford to take the points as i already have 11 and it’d mean losing my licence what can I do?
Tim - 6-Jan-18 @ 2:23 AM
Works vehicle - Your Question:
I've just been snapped on a red light. I am driving a work mobility vehicle with a resident in the back. The light was amber and I braked hard, but the resident in the back called out as the seat belt pulled tight and I felt that I was not able to stop without skidding. Do I have a case to appeal? Also I felt that the vehicle that is supplied was not capable of stopping without skidding and the company should be held responsible for that. Why should I have points on my clean licence? Why should I pay a fine?

Our Response:
Sometimes the excuse that in stopping you would endanger other roadusers may be accepted in mitigation but you'd have to be prepared to attend court if you wanted to appeal. As for the company vehicle, as a driver you do have responsibility for daily checks and ensuring a vehicle is roadworthy before driving it...so you would be expected to have raised the brakes issue with your employer. If you have, and they've refused to maintain the vehicle sufficiently, you may have a case but again, you would need to seek professional legal advice.
NoPenaltyPoints - 5-Jan-18 @ 3:00 PM
timewrong - Your Question:
I received a NIP for running a red light - I have no recollection of doing this and it certainly wasn't deliberate. However I know for sure that the time of the alleged offence is 1 hour out - the time on the camera must have been wrong as at the alleged time, I was in the dentists waiting room (10.49). I did however drive down the road one hour later at approx 11.50 - can I contest as the information on the PID is not correct? Is it worth the effort?

Our Response:
It could be that the clock on the camera was simply showing an incorrect time or had not been adjusted to reflect recent daylight saving time changes etc. That might be regarded as a simple administrative error but may be a reason for throwing out the charge. If you don't think you ran a light and know that you definitely weren't there at the time, you could try completing the form, saying you were not the driver. It may be better to simply return the form unsigned and not completed, with a cover letter stating that you were in the dentist (with your vehicle) at that time and date.
NoPenaltyPoints - 5-Jan-18 @ 10:08 AM
Hi, I have just received a NPI for a speeding offence recorded on 26/11/17.The car in question is a lease car through my limited company whose address is the same as my home address. The NPI letter is dated 03/01/18 and was delivered first class post today 04/01/18. The envelope is not postmarked but is simply Royal Mail Postage Paid. By my calculation the NPI should have been sent and received before 11/12/17 and is outside the 14 day notice period. In your opinion would I have grounds to refuse the notice as it has been issued outside of the 14 day notice period? Thanks in advance.
Cooper - 4-Jan-18 @ 4:56 PM
I've just been snapped on a red light. I am driving a work mobility vehicle with a resident in the back. The light was amber and I braked hard, but the resident in the back called out as the seat belt pulled tight and I felt that I was not able to stop without skidding. Do I have a case to appeal?Also I felt that the vehicle that is supplied was not capable of stopping without skidding and the company should be held responsible for that. Why should I have points on my clean licence?Why should I pay a fine?
Works vehicle - 3-Jan-18 @ 3:31 PM
I received a NIP for running a red light - I have no recollection of doing this and it certainly wasn't deliberate. However I know for sure that the time of the alleged offence is 1 hour out - the time on the camera must have been wrong as at the alleged time, I was in the dentists waiting room (10.49). I did however drive down the road one hour later at approx 11.50 - can I contest as the information on the PID is not correct? Is it worth the effort?
timewrong - 2-Jan-18 @ 9:45 AM
I have received the dreaded NIP stating I passed through a red light. I was aware that the camera flashed, so no surprise there ! However I didn’t completely cross the junction, the light had turned Amber and I was breaking aware there was a red light camera. I did stop at the junction, however I probably did just go over the stop line. Only by a foot or so. I didn’t want to hit the anchors completely, worried that the person behind me might end up rear ending me. Should I just accept the driver course or go to court and fight ?
Surprised - 28-Dec-17 @ 5:36 PM
YoungDriver - Your Question:
Hi,So I’ve recently received an NIP for skipping a red light, yet, me and my partner both have access to the car and do not recall who the driver is? How should I go about this situation, any advice would be muchly appreciated! Thank you

Our Response:
You can write and say you don't know who was driving and ask for photographic evidence. See our template here which talks about speeding but is relevant for your offence too.
NoPenaltyPoints - 20-Dec-17 @ 3:02 PM
Hi, So I’ve recently received an NIP for skipping a red light, yet, me and my partner both have access to the car and do not recall who the driver is? How should I go about this situation, any advice would be muchly appreciated! Thank you
YoungDriver - 20-Dec-17 @ 1:18 AM
I went through an amber turning to red light and have received a penalty notification, I have been pretty unlucky as I had a heavy cold and had a sneezing fit just before and it was a case of put foot down or stop somewhere in the middle, I doubt this will help my cause though
Jay - 14-Dec-17 @ 7:18 PM
Someone just said to me as it’s my first time driving through a red lift after years of no incident, I will be able to do a driving awareness course instead of trigggering points on my licence. Is this true?
Kieran - 8-Dec-17 @ 5:40 PM
Hi, I received a letter saying I skipped red lights by 1.8 seconds.I don't remember doing it but may have. Is evidence usually provided when the letter has been sent or do you have to request for the evidence to be shown?
Zee - 1-Dec-17 @ 7:13 PM
Kb - Your Question:
Hi I ran a red light and received all the paperwork. I sent the paperwork off on the 16th November and not heard anything since. I don't want to contact met police and remind them and I have not had my letter delivered back to me as I did put my address on the reverse if it was not delivered. Any advice would be helpful

Our Response:
You don't always hear back straight away, in fact the police have up to 6 months in which to take further action.
NoPenaltyPoints - 1-Dec-17 @ 12:32 PM
Hi I ran a red light and received all the paperwork. I sent the paperwork off on the 16th Novemberand not heard anything since. I don't want to contact met police and remind them and I have not had my letter delivered back to me as I did put my address on the reverse if it was not delivered. Any advice would be helpful
Kb - 29-Nov-17 @ 9:24 PM
Accidently crossed a - Your Question:
Hi, I think I crossed a red light 4 weeks ago (nearly now) and a camera behind the lights flashed 2 times. I have not received a ticket yet and it has been 4 weeks nearly. Am I still likely to get a ticket?

Our Response:
If you haven't changed address or vehicle in the past few months and you are the registered keeper of the vehicle then yes, you should have received an NIP within 14 days if you were caught on camera.
NoPenaltyPoints - 28-Nov-17 @ 2:50 PM
Hi, I think I crossed a red light 4 weeks ago (nearly now) and a camera behind the lights flashed 2 times. I have not received a ticket yet and it has been 4 weeks nearly. Am i still likely to get a ticket?
Accidently crossed a - 27-Nov-17 @ 4:54 PM
kwaku - Your Question:
I have just received a NIP for going through a red light. I accept that I went over the line but my brakes failed and managed to stop and not carry on through the red completely. As I didn't carry on and stopped and it was due to my brakes failing, can I appeal this?

Our Response:
It's unlikely that this would be a successful reason to appeal (although a legal professional would be able to tell you that better than us). Telling a judge that your brakes failed is not likely to help matters at all.
NoPenaltyPoints - 27-Nov-17 @ 3:27 PM
I have just received a NIP for going through a red light. I accept that I went over the line but my brakes failed and managed to stop and not carry on through the red completely. As I didn't carry on and stopped and it was due to my brakes failing, can I appeal this?
kwaku - 24-Nov-17 @ 10:45 AM
Crafty one - Your Question:
My husband was driving my car and I have received a NIP. It states he was caught on camera going thru a red light which had changed from amber by 1.35 seconds. I have returned the notice with his details as the driver at the time of the offence. Will he get points on his license and how much is the fine

Our Response:
The usual penalty for running a red light is £100 fine plus 3 penalty points. Sometime a driver awareness course might be offered but this will be at the discretion of the police.
NoPenaltyPoints - 22-Nov-17 @ 2:57 PM
My husband was driving my car and I have received a NIP. It states he was caught on camera going thru a red light which had changed from amber by 1.35 seconds. I have returned the notice with his details as the driver at the time of the offence. Will he get points on his license and how much is the fine
Crafty one - 18-Nov-17 @ 3:52 PM
Quick question please. I am away to buy a car and trade in my own vehicle as part of it. I have realised that i never received my new logbook/proof of ownership from when i sent it DVLA. I spoke to them who said it hasnt been received so I've filled in the necessary forms and also sent a photocopy of the original (took a photocopy before sending last year). My question is- what if I have been through a red light or two/speeding and have accumulated points which I dont know about as never received them due to not technically being the registered owner/keeper. Dont want to take out a finance deal to be told a month later I've accumulated points/banned. Quick response or help would be greatly appreciated!!MAT
Wilkie - 25-Oct-17 @ 5:01 PM
Hi, can the cctv camera in the middle of the junction be used to detect red light running? There was not a flashing red light camera, but I wondered if the cctv camera be used to issue a ticket?
st99 - 25-Oct-17 @ 3:58 PM
hi there i need some advise please, few days back i was about to jump a red light , it means that my front wheels passed the white line but immediately realizing this i stopped the car and reversed back, i have now received a letter asking the details of the driver at the time of the offence, i am very much sure that i did not cross the red light and reversed back after realizing the same. the camera was behind the car for sure because i can sawthe flash.on the rear view mirror and also that time turn to left light was green only ahead was red. please advise if this can be challenged or avoid the penalty. urgent response will be highly appreciated.
allurs - 18-Oct-17 @ 10:14 PM
Hi I am international student last year I gave it my car to my friend as he was fixing something in my car but he passed red light last November and I do not about it and he didn't tell me thatin last Fab I have done the provisional license and last Sep I did the theory test and I booked my driving test and I have called instructor and he checked my license he found I got 6 points and 660 pounds fine. I just want to know how I can prove the driver wasn't me and is the camera can show the driver not me. help please
abdu - 18-Oct-17 @ 12:41 PM
When does a red traffic light become defunct/non operational?I was in a designated right lane (seperated from the straight ahead lane by a hard standing island) and the road I wanted to turn into was closed at the junction due to a cycle race using road cones and marshalls.I proceeded through the red light to speak to the marshalls (as the road was supposed to beaccessible to get to certain roads) In my opinion the trafdic light shpuld have been covered as even if it was green no one could continue into the right turn. Camera has pictures of me crossing the line with the contravening speed being recorded as 0 mph as i was going so slow. Conea and marshalls also in picture evidence.
Crackers193 - 12-Oct-17 @ 10:15 AM
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