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Running a Red Light

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 18 Oct 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]
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
A few days ago, on my way home there’s this junction with 2 filter lights only (turn left and straight on) now usually it’s clear when it’s red and green, but that night both filter lights were green, however, the set behind them were red, now as the first filter was green I had already passed the traffic lights, but I think I saw a flash as I was leaving the junction in my rear view mirror, did I run a red light in this instance?
Panic - 11-Oct-17 @ 4:58 PM
Hi there some help / advice please My son is working in London driving a van with a trailer on the back crossed a junction as the lights changed he considered it dangerous to brake hard and stop what with the trailer on the back hence he was flashed what's your thoughts please
Swampy - 30-Sep-17 @ 9:56 AM
Reb - Your Question:
Hi guys! Hoping you can help please ! At a roundabout junction today with traffic lights I went through the lights on the last amber but just about the red so depending on how the police man in the car right behind me feels I'm assuming he can issue me a fine and points. Am I right in saying this ? I would say he could have pulled me over then and there but it was a very dangerous roundabout so I doubt he would have risked it for that as there was nowhere to pull me over. My second question is if I am issued fine and points will it come to the address where my driving licence is registered or where the car is registered ? (I am wondering as they are two different addresses). Many thanks for your help in advance :)

Our Response:
If the police decide to take action they can do so. They will issue an NIP to the address at which the car is registered.
NoPenaltyPoints - 27-Sep-17 @ 12:41 PM
Hi all, Today I got flashed at the lights. The weather was bad and the road wet so whilst I did stop before crossing the junction the front of my car had crossed the line on red. Where might I stand, should I expect a notice? Thanks Rob
Rob - 26-Sep-17 @ 2:00 AM
Hi guys! Hoping you can help please ! At a roundabout junction today with traffic lights I went through the lights on the last amber but just about the red so depending on how the police man in the car right behind me feels I'm assuming he can issue me a fine and points. Am I right in saying this ? I would say he could have pulled me over then and there but it was a very dangerous roundabout so I doubt he would have risked it for that as there was nowhere to pull me over . My second question is if I am issued fine and points will it come to the address where my driving licence is registered or where the car is registered ? (I am wondering as they are two different addresses) . Many thanks for your help in advance :)
Reb - 25-Sep-17 @ 6:52 PM
Hi I just got pull over by under to jump a red light .i was coming in my lane then a van driver pulled in my lane with out any signal when he reach at the trafic light just suddnley he wants turn right while try to cross him light went red I cross by mistake and got stop by police .just worry what is going to happen now and how long is going to take . He note all my detail and ask me over job is to report court job is to issue palenty .advise will be very helpful thanks in advance .
Mexi - 25-Sep-17 @ 3:57 AM
Kelbel- Your Question:
Going down a127 Southend at junction bellhouse lane had a van right up my backside lights turned amber just as I got there if I had slammed my breaks on he would gone up my backside so continued as felt it safer however camera light flashed and today received through post intentions to prosecute. Am so terrified does anyone know what this will mean?

Our Response:
If a driver considers it unsafe to stop suddenly because of a potential accident, this is sometimes accepted in mitigation. You would be expected to attend court if you dispute it however and it might be worth seeking professional advice before doing so. The usual penalty for running a red light (depending on the lateness) is 3 penalty points and a £100 fine.
NoPenaltyPoints - 11-Sep-17 @ 10:24 AM
Going down a127 Southend at junction bellhouse lane had a van right up my backside lights turned amber just as I got there if I had slammed my breaks on he would gone up my backside so continued as felt it safer however camera light flashed and today received through post intentions to prosecute. Am so terrified does anyone know what this will mean?
Kelbel - 8-Sep-17 @ 1:04 PM
Hi I have a question. How long does it take to clear red light penalty?
Liban - 27-Aug-17 @ 10:28 PM
David mac - Your Question:
Hey guys I think I might have got caught today. So I definitely went through it on amber but if my front half of the car was through does this mean I shouldn't get any points?

Our Response:
You can be penalised as soon as your car is over the line unfortunately. If the lights remained on amber until after you had passed through the junction you may be lucky.
NoPenaltyPoints - 26-Jul-17 @ 2:20 PM
redlightrunner - Your Question:
HiI recently received notice that I had run a red light. I had to declare this to the police, and subsequently pleaded guilty online. I have just received my judgement - 3 points and a £269 penalty, £85 court fees and £30 victim surcharges. I might be completely missing something, but what happened to a £60 fine and 3 points, why do I have a £384 penalty for running a red light?Your help would be greatly appreciated.Many thanks

Our Response:
The minimum fixed penalty is £100 plus 3 points for running a red light. The fact that you have received a fine plus court fees/victim surcharge suggests that the offence proceeded to court instead of a standard fixed penalty being issued. It may have been that your ran the light, very late and the offence was considered more serious.
NoPenaltyPoints - 26-Jul-17 @ 2:10 PM
I believe I ran a light timing it badly but I believe a van flashed me after going over, is the flash white/blue like a speed camera or yellow ish like a headlight? Also I believe my bike on the back of my truck heavily obscured my plate, if they cannot read it properly am I all good?
Jd09 - 21-Jul-17 @ 5:40 PM
Hey guys I think I might have got caught today. So I definitely went through it on amber but if my front half of the car was through does this mean I shouldn't get any points?
David mac - 20-Jul-17 @ 7:27 PM
Hi I recently received notice that I had run a red light. I had to declare this to the police, and subsequently pleaded guilty online. I have just received my judgement - 3 points and a £269 penalty, £85 court fees and £30 victim surcharges. I might be completely missing something, but what happened to a £60 fine and 3 points, why do I have a £384 penalty for running a red light? Your help would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks
redlightrunner - 20-Jul-17 @ 3:23 PM
I was driving today and drove past a traffic light by an accident, as I'm a new driver but there was no flashing or anything. no one got hurt or anything, but I am wondering if I would get fine is there is no flashing of cameras?
JC - 16-Jul-17 @ 9:21 PM
My mum was driving in traffic along southend arterial road in junction with progress road. She stopped when the lights changed just on or before the white line till they turned green again. No other vehicle was impededor blocked as there was ample room and the white strip is pretty much straight after the lights. She did the right thing in stopping and still got a ticket for being stationary.Any advice please ?
Sonny - 12-Jul-17 @ 4:40 PM
Coming home from work went through the traffic lights thought I'd thought I timed it right but obviously caught the red light and the camera flashed just wanted to know I passed my test 2 years and 3 days ago licence has the issue date of the 21st of the 7th so two questions what fine and penalties am I looking at and what date do they take into consideration the date I passed or the date my licence was issued with regards to it being two years or under
Steve - 11-Jul-17 @ 5:15 PM
Help! - Your Question:
So I was on my way home through kings cross im a new driver only passed my test a few days ago, a driver behined me was beeping his horn at me and I was checking my rear view mirror as I looked forwards the lights changed in my panic to stop I hit the accelerator and the break shooting forwards before stopping my car was about a quater way over the white line and the camera flashed me any advice?

Our Response:
It's unlikely this will be a good reason have a penalty overturned. If action is taken, it's likely to be in the form of a £100 fine plus 3 penalty points, or driver awareness course.
NoPenaltyPoints - 5-Jul-17 @ 10:03 AM
so i was on my way home through kings cross im a new driver only passed my test a few days ago, a driver behined me was beeping his horn at me and i was checking my rear view mirror as i looked forwards the lights changed in my panic to stop i hit the accelerator and the break shooting forwards before stopping my car was about a quater way over the white line and the camera flashed me any advice?
Help! - 4-Jul-17 @ 4:02 AM
me old china - Your Question:
I stopped at a camera-ed traffic light at red but re-positioned onto my right-hand lane which triggered the camera with my front wheels beyond the white line. Guilty as charged! but not guilty for jumping the red light! But points and penalty that may affect your livelihood is a bit much with no redress except a court appearance is a bit much. So surely some form of hard evidence is needed to prove beyond reasonable doubt and with current technology, that could be possible. Why not use it? The current form of evidence is not good enough. What is the law with regards to going beyond the white line? Why is the onus on the driver to prove innocence? surely it is the prosecution side that should provide the evidence beyond doubt.

Our Response:
If you cross the white line, you effectively "ran" the red light, which is the offence. You might claim mitigating circumstances, but it could be argued that you could have driven on in the lane you were in and and turned around somewhere convenient.
NoPenaltyPoints - 29-Jun-17 @ 12:53 PM
I've had a letter saying I went through a red light 1.4 seconds after it changed to red at a speed of 0 mph. I was stuck in a huge traffic jam and had to edge along the road so can only assume I've edged through as the lights changed. Is this worth appealing?
Woody - 28-Jun-17 @ 8:51 PM
I stopped at a camera-ed traffic light at red but re-positioned onto my right-hand lane which triggered the camera with my front wheels beyond the white line .Guilty as charged! but not guilty for jumping the red light! But points and penalty that may affect your livelihood is a bit much with no redress except a court appearance is a bit much. So surely some form of hard evidence is needed to prove beyond reasonable doubt and with current technology, that could be possible. Why not use it? The current form of evidence is not good enough. What is the law with regards to going beyond the white line?Why is the onus on the driver to prove innocence? surely it is the prosecution side that should provide the evidence beyond doubt.
me old china - 28-Jun-17 @ 5:01 PM
Don - Your Question:
I think I ran a red light which had a red light cam, it was morning 5am I was going home frm work and the traffic light were not working, here was no traffic sign or temp traffic lights, there was no cakes on the road. What will likely happen?

Our Response:
If the traffic lights were not working how do you know you ran a red light?
NoPenaltyPoints - 28-Jun-17 @ 2:36 PM
PMC - Your Question:
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?

Our Response:
This may result in a summons. Each offence isolated, might not result in a summons but the combination of both, means it's more likely. The best you can hope for is that you are offered a driver course for the red light offence and fixed penalty of a £100 fine plus 3 points for the speeding offence. In the worst case if it goes to court, the penalty for speeding at 58 in a 40 zone is between 4 and 6 penalty points and band B (75 - 125% of weekly income) fine and the penalty for the red light is at least £100 fine plus 3 points. Since you need your licence, we suggest you consult a legal professional if you get a court summons.
NoPenaltyPoints - 28-Jun-17 @ 11:26 AM
I think I ran a red light which had a red light cam, it was morning 5am i was going home frm work and the traffic light were not working, here was no traffic sign or temp traffic lights, there was no cakes on the road. What will likely happen?
Don - 27-Jun-17 @ 4:20 PM
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
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