Home > Driver Offences > Running a Red Light

Running a Red Light

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 21 Jul 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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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
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
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
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