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Running a Red Light

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 17 Jan 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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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 @ 3:46 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
Hi My partner is a fairly new driver and got confused at a junction and accidentally ran a red light. He was stopped by the police and they said he will get a letter in the post. Will he definitely get 3 points on his licence or will be able to just pay the fine or do a course? Really want to avoid the 3 points! Help please!
Hrose - 28-Dec-16 @ 11:01 PM
Hi, The above makes an interesting read. According to the highway code, you must stop on red before the line. Stump up the cost and points and reflect that you were driving without care and attention. As stated if you pass a red light because of an emergency vehicle, that was is a valid reason to appeal. You just end up wasting your time trying to escape it!
George Randall - 22-Dec-16 @ 8:43 AM
Hi, I'm a Lorry driver and the other day I was waiting to turn right inside a yellow box junction but it was rush hour and the traffic flow was very slow so while I was in the box the lights changed to red. When the traffic in front of me finally moved I had to clear the junction so I made my turn but I'm pretty sure I drove through a red light at a pedestrian crossing just on the other side of the yellow box. My satnav said there was a traffic signal camera but I had no choice but to move as I was blocking the junction in a Lorry. Do you think I would have good cause to appeal if I have been caught? Thanks.
Andy - 21-Dec-16 @ 3:57 PM
Sammy - Your Question:
I received a letter from the police saying they have previously send me a letter for an offence of driving through the and they want me to provide the identity of the driver in which I did not receive, I'm surprised why they contact as I'm not the register keeper of the car but had my insurance at the time of the incident, please kindly advise me what to, the only letter I receive now is court letter, many thanks.

Our Response:
Do you mean you were no longer the registered keeper at the time of the offence or you were driving someone else's car? If the latter you can tell the police that you have not received any prior communication, but it will probably still proceed to court. If you had already sold the vehicle at when the offence occurred, simply send proof of when the vehicle was sold.
NoPenaltyPoints - 19-Dec-16 @ 10:57 AM
I received a letter from the police saying they have previously send me a letter for an offence of driving through the and they want me to provide the identity of the driver in which i did not receive, I'm surprised why they contact as I'm not the register keeper of the car but had my insurance at the time of the incident, please kindly advise me what to,the only letter i receive now is court letter, many thanks.
Sammy - 17-Dec-16 @ 8:53 AM
Hi, I was pulled over by a police van with several officers in it, they pulled me over and said I had ran a red light, but I know I did not as another car went through the same time as I did.When I asked if I ran the red light then surely the police van did too, the officer got annoyed and said how he planned to let me off but is now going to issue me a ticket for being cheeky.I then saw the officer return to the van where he was having a good laugh with his friends, he came back and I said I still cannot see how I ran a red light, but he said his colleagues will back him up.I was both fuming and upset, the policeman was completely horrible, and I still cannot believe what happened, I have returned to the junction since and still cannot see how I ran a red light.I had my autistic son in the car and am always careful driving. I have received a choice of a penalty fine or course, but is there anything I can do about this injustice?do all police vans have dashcams to prove this and can i request it? any help is greatly appreciated
upset and annoyed - 12-Dec-16 @ 7:29 PM
Hi. I got pulled over this morning for doing a red light. The police woman filled out the form and said I would receive the fine in the post. I was guilty and simply wasn't concentrating. I feel so bad! Is there any way I can get out of paying the fine and having the points on my license? I was in such a rush as I had just received news that my nan was really ill in hospital! I could see that it was safe to go but I know it was stupid of me! I'm desperate to not have the points and I can't afford to pay the fine. Please can anybody offer some advice?
AW1 - 9-Dec-16 @ 1:03 PM
Through red light to let ambulance pass no other choice cars to the left of me let ambulance through gap to turn.
Ted - 8-Dec-16 @ 7:45 PM
I as driving to work this morning and got flashed I think twice,there was a high rise van in front of me as I was driving g there was 3 lanes 1 to the left turn of and then 2 straight on, then the lane went back into 3 lanes, as I was proceeding behind the van I notice the red light in front after he moved a out to the left fast lane, and I breaker but I was near on the yellow box so I had no choice but to continue as the cars then from the left was starting to move towards me, and then I saw 2 maybe be 3 flashes, and thee was also a van on my right so I don't no whether it flashed me 3 times or 2 or if they flashd all 3 of us , as I don't want to be paying 3 fines if it wasn't all my fault, either way I was screwed, either get flashed, get hit, or get fined for being in the yellow box, by the way was in london
martelless - 2-Dec-16 @ 8:40 AM
Paranoid and worried! I was driving down the A406 N Hanger Lane. There was an intersection where there was a huge long yellow box. There were a set of traffic lights which were green as I crossed the line. I stopped before the long yellow box (with the small gap) - as it was not clear for me to proceed. When the vehicle in front proceeded, I then moved forward, however the traffic on the left began to move into the yellow box, so I was to be stationary for a few seconds. Given the level of panic I wanted to get out of the box as soon as possible however I am unsure whether I crossed another set of traffic lights when proceeding forward.. From what I remember the car in front of me was able to go, but my worry and panic got the better of me. What's the worse that can happen? I noticed one red light camera behind me. But does that only apply to one set of traffic lights or mulitple? As I definitely recall not passing a red on the first set. And I don't think the second set had a camera.. What will happen. Help :(
K10 - 29-Nov-16 @ 6:41 PM
Paranoid and worried! I was driving down the A406 N Hanger Lane. There was an intersection where there was a huge long yellow box. There were a set of traffic lights which were green as I crossed the line. I stopped before the long yellow box (with the small gap) - as it was not clear for me to proceed. When the vehicle in front proceeded, I then moved forward, however the traffic on the left began to move into the yellow box, so I was to be stationary for a few seconds. Given the level of panic I wanted to get out of the box as soon as possible however I am unsure whether I crossed another set of traffic lights when proceeding forward.. From what I remember the car in front of me was able to go, but my worry and panic got the better of me. What's the worse that can happen? I noticed one red light camera behind me. But does that only apply to one set of traffic lights or mulitple? As I definitely recall not passing a red on the first set. And I don't think the second set had a camera.. What will happen. Help :(
K10 - 29-Nov-16 @ 5:23 PM
Hi , i got red light letter but have dash cam footage showing i stopped and another car to the right of me going through a red light at speed , they saying went over the red ligth line at 14 mph , my dash cam is time stamped with date and global position , and clearly shows me stopping and another car coming out of no where at great speed running the light , they say they cannot view foot age even though i sent in .mov and .mp4 format , i am going to dispute the case as i think its very unfair . any one here with advice can i post the video for folk to look at
Jon Clarke - 28-Nov-16 @ 1:05 PM
I went beyond the red light line but stopped and didn't proceed any further. I received a NIP in the mail for running the light. What do I do? Does the cameras record continuously to show that I did come to a complete stop?
Top - 27-Nov-16 @ 6:09 PM
Hi, I was driving to work this morning and had a lapse in concentration for a moment.I think I drove through an amber light, which may have possibly turned red but dont think it did by time I was through the lights.Also I was unaware of my speed at the time. There was a yellow camera behind me. What would be the penalty in a worse case senario of going through a red light and maybe speeding (unsure I did either) but just in case?
jules1 - 24-Nov-16 @ 10:58 PM
Sabah - Your Question:
Hi there, I am a student nurse who suffers from Chrons disease I was driving and the lights were on amber as I went through they changed to red I was in a rush as I needed the toilet. I am really bad at traveling. So I've received a letter through the post, what am I facing? If I explain my situation will I still end up with points. This is really stressing me out which is not good for my condition as I will have a flare up. Can you please respond.

Our Response:
Unfortunately it's unlikely this will be accepted as valid reason to appeal. The likely options are a drivers awareness course or 3 penalty points plus a £100 fine.
NoPenaltyPoints - 24-Nov-16 @ 2:05 PM
Hi there, I am a student nurse who suffers from Chrons disease I was driving and the lights were on amber as I went through they changed to red I was in a rush as I needed the toilet. I am really bad at traveling. So I've received a letter through the post, what am I facing? If I explain my situation will I still end up with points. This is really stressing me out which is not good for my condition as I will have a flare up. Can you please respond.
Sabah - 23-Nov-16 @ 7:58 PM
Al- Your Question:
I have ran through a red light today, it was amber when I moved and changed suddenly and I have been flashed. The reason I couldn't stop was my car was running on a decent speed but there was was a car with loud noise coming from behind If I didn't stop he would've hit me?What do you think of this situation.I'm a new driver with only 4 months full license.Do I get fine? Points? Course or what really scares now.Kind RegardsAl

Our Response:
You would have to be able to prove that to stop would have been too dangerous, this is really difficult especially as you say it was on amber when you moved (you're not supposed to move until the green light|). The likely penalty will be 3 points and £100 fine, but you may be offered a driver awareness course if the police consider that a better alternative.
NoPenaltyPoints - 22-Nov-16 @ 10:02 AM
I have ran through a red light today, it was amber when I moved and changed suddenly and I have been flashed. The reason I couldn't stop was my car was running on a decent speed but there was was a car with loud noise coming from behind If I didn't stop he would've hit me? What do you think of this situation. I'm a new driver with only 4 months full license. Do I get fine? Points? Course or what really scares now. Kind Regards Al
Al - 21-Nov-16 @ 1:50 AM
Got a NIP as i ran a red light but was behind a car turning right and the car in front had slowed down which put me and the other car in the traffic light box --- can i mention that when i send the NIP back ?
bert - 17-Nov-16 @ 7:50 AM
I ran a red light back in July 2015 and was only made aware in October 2016 letters were sent to a previous address and I can't prove my license and car were registered registered to correct address as iv lost log book and moved so new address on licence wipes old address off am in court for statutory declaration tomorrow what can I expect?I am currently facing 6 points and £800 fine??
Kaz - 16-Nov-16 @ 6:07 PM
Dan - Your Question:
So, I ran a red in Bristol tonight on a junction where there is a light camera. adjacent to the lane I was in (going straight on) is a lane to turn right with a thin island between. I saw the light for the right turn go green in the corner of my eye, and my body automatically reacted to the green light with putting the car in gear and just going. I then learnt that my straight on lane was red, as I watch the car in the lane to my left stay in it's place. I felt like such a ****. I'm not going to say it wasn't me. I feel a filter on the right on the right lane would've helped me not see the green and I would not have gone. But I appreciate this is a weak excuse, but I have seen filters or 'shades' covering a side of a traffic light so other lanes going a junction dont see a green and get confused, I feel a similar instalment would've helped prevent me making this stupid error, but I do understand that it us down to me at the end of all this detail spilling. I didn't see the camera flash, but I don't earn much. If I'm going to have a £100 ticket I need to start saving for it ASAP, or find extra work however I can, both of those take time and the ticket may double in the time it takes me to raise the money. What I'm asking is, is there a way to check you have a ticket or your registration is on record as an offender. I want to be sure I'm getting a ticket before I sacrifice time on an extra Job. Thanks in advance to those who respond.

Our Response:
No there's no way you can check whether you've received a ticket or not until it's been sent. You will receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) within 14 days of the offence and then you have up to 28 days to return it before being notified of a fixed penalty or driving course - so you don't have long to wait before you know whether you are likely to be penalised.
NoPenaltyPoints - 14-Nov-16 @ 10:33 AM
There was a redlight camera but the light wasnt red i went through Amber and got flashed but was doing 33mph in a 30.
Bunny - 13-Nov-16 @ 8:29 PM
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