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Running a Red Light

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 22 Nov 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 have received a NIP for allegedly passing a red light at 0.9 seconds. Is it worth me appealing? It was less than one second. Thanks
shamrocker - 22-Nov-18 @ 4:29 PM
i intered with the green lights and around 10 mitersi was stuck on traffic. i coujd not see the lights turning red until i saw the camera flash. I have recive the letterfo commiting offence, i was caught on red lights for 5.5 second. How should I appeal this
andi - 31-Oct-18 @ 11:53 PM
I have been sent two NIPs for running a red light in Bristol. The timing of the offences is 0.1 seconds apart. Can they be treated as one offence?
BobF - 16-Oct-18 @ 6:59 PM
Traffic lights were stuck on red and broken, they were not moving off red, I was there for 15 mins, no other option but to go through them, afterwards I rang the police to notify them off issue of broken lights, can I still get a fine and points as I went through them when they were red
Adz - 5-Oct-18 @ 12:48 PM
I ran a red light and have had NIP and now the conditional offer. I realised after crossing that the light was red, because there was a double decker bus in front of me and 2 lorries on my right in the other lane - all obscuring traffic lights. Do I have any defence?
Jo - 3-Oct-18 @ 9:30 PM
I got my license back 8 weeks ago after losing it for a year for drink driving. I just got a NIP for running a red light, will I have to go to court and lose my license again because of my previous ban?
Annon - 20-Sep-18 @ 6:58 PM
I went tgrough light today it showed green bot 10 yards past traffic had stopped so it changedto red, i tried to reverse as traffics was turning right but go waved through by driver as traffic in front of me had moved. Will i get a ticket?
Rudi15 - 7-Sep-18 @ 5:36 PM
Hello How can i Find if i have tiket from camera trafic paid or n-o paid!i was Driving another person car and that person dont Tell me nothing if the ticket arrived or n-o and i wanna find if i have receive a ticked FOR speed or no.thank you
Lavinia - 31-Jul-18 @ 4:09 PM
I accidentally edged over the stop line and got flashed by the camera. However it would have been obvious that I was slowing down and stopping. Can I expect a fine for this as I believe I got flashed.
LR67 - 21-Jul-18 @ 7:29 AM
Got a intention to prosecute, Jumped red light by 1 second and amber 3.1 seconds Any ideas what to expect?
Leer34 - 17-Jul-18 @ 11:22 AM
Hi I ran a red light as it switched from Amber doing 50mph in a 30mph Zone. I have already admitted responsibility but now I am worried I will lose my licence. The car is my livelihood and without it I can not work. I also need the car for regular hospital appointments. In your opinion, what will the outcome be? Cheers!
Silly Boy - 10-Jul-18 @ 1:38 PM
I’ve received notice of intended prosecution for a red light camera. I set it off while turning left on a green filter but owing to the length of my vehicle and Long trailer I was straddling the next lane (which was on red) in order to make the left turn, this was at 10 to 2 in the morning and no one else was around. How should I appeal this?
Sleepy - 9-Jul-18 @ 2:32 AM
Received NIP for going through red light. The footage was from a cyclist. I've seen the footage but there's no time or date to verify when the incident occurred. The police are unable to provide this information. In the absence of a timestamp, what grounds are there to be penalised for the alleged offence?
ilford83 - 3-Jul-18 @ 5:59 PM
I stopped at a light today, almost on the line and my scooter was rear ended by the car behind, pushing me over the line. The lights have a red light camera no NWGM105. Do I have a defence As the car was touching me my number plate would be obscured anyway till he reversed, do the ceras continue taking pictures or is it a single one as your wheels cross the line?
Johnny Kiev - 30-Jun-18 @ 7:30 PM
John - Your Question:
I found out yesterday that I had ran a red light at 9 seconds and will have to go to court. I've never done something like this before, I’m a very cautious driver over 30 years. I have been told that it will go to court, but they didn't say how long this will take. I go on holiday in 4 weeks is it possible that this to go to court before then or during my 2 weeks away? I would need my license during my holiday so would be a disaster if I don't have it.

Our Response:
We can't really say how long it will take for a court summons to be issued as the time to prepare evidence and papers varies across the country. It's unlikely a court summons will be issued within the next two weeks but contact the police central ticketing office to find out where it is in the process to be sure.
NoPenaltyPoints - 29-Jun-18 @ 3:39 PM
I found out yesterday that I had ran a red light at 9 seconds and will have to go to court. I've never done something like this before, I’m a very cautious driver over 30 years.I have been told that it will go to court, but they didn't say how long this will take. I go on holiday in 4 weeks is it possible that this to go to court before then or during my 2 weeks away? I would need my license during my holiday so would be a disaster if I don't have it.
John - 28-Jun-18 @ 10:27 AM
Taw - Your Question:
I was at a red signal and it was not turning amber / green acter 4 or 5 cycles of the other signals going through red amber green. I had no clue and assumed the signal was faulty as it had been over 10mins. I made sure the road was clear and went through. Would I get a fine?

Our Response:
There seems to be conflicting advice in this kind of situation. If can, you should contact the police on a non-emergency number if it's safe to do so and report the light. There are instances where the police have advised to proceed through with caution and others where they state you will receive a fixed penalty notice.If you receive an NIP for this, it's worth noting down the time and the series of events as they occurred so that you might plead mitigation.
NoPenaltyPoints - 22-Jun-18 @ 3:37 PM
Katie- Your Question:
Hi I ran a red light at 8 seconds, had no idea, I’m a very cautious driver and have had a clean licence for 10 years I already have anxiety’s about people not driving safe on the road so was extremely shocked I did this I’m assuming it’s because there is another set of lights just ahead and I must of seen these as green, I’m very worried and concerned that cus they have issued court proceedings that I may receive a ban? Could this be the case? Apparently I don’t have to go to court? But I have to wait 3 months now for the paper work

Our Response:
We can't really say what a judge will decide but the standard fixed penalty is £100 plus 3 points. If it does go to court, the court can use discretionary powers fine you more heavily (up to £1000) and to disqualify you from driving. Sometimes a driver awareness course might be offered instead. If you think the lights are misleading and genuinely mistook the light for a green one, it might be worth going to court to plead mitigating circumstances, but we suggest professional legal advice in that case.
NoPenaltyPoints - 22-Jun-18 @ 12:22 PM
I was at a red signal and it was not turning amber / green acter 4 or 5 cycles of the other signals going through red amber green. I had no clue and assumed the signal was faulty as it had been over 10mins. I made sure the road was clear and went through. Would I get a fine?
Taw - 22-Jun-18 @ 1:37 AM
Hi I ran a red light at 8 seconds, had no idea, I’m a very cautious driver and have had a clean licence for 10 years I already have anxiety’s about people not driving safe on the road so was extremely shocked I did this I’m assuming it’s because there is another set of lights just ahead and I must of seen these as green, I’m very worried and concerned that cus they have issued court proceedings that I may receive a ban? Could this be the case? Apparently I don’t have to go to court? But I have to wait 3 months now for the paper work
Katie - 21-Jun-18 @ 11:43 AM
Hi there, A nip came the other day for crossing a red light on 21st May, but it wasnt my husband (who is named driver) who was driving it was me. Had just had upsetting call and was trying to get to family to help. (Wasnt on fone while driving) Think it changed from amber as I passed through, Anyway He filled it in and sent it back next day with my details. What will happen next ? Does stuff for me come by post ? Never been in this situation before.
Titch - 2-Jun-18 @ 10:23 PM
_***** _- Your Question:
Hi ThereMy partner and I share a car and both work irregular hours. I ran a red light by one second and received a ticket but when we submitted the driver's details on the notice of prosecution form, we wrongfully submitted my partner's details believing her to be the driver on that day/date. Shortly afterwards I realised that I was in fact the driver and we wrote to the traffic prosecutions department providing my full details as the driver at the time of the offence and therefor retracting my partner's admission. It was a genuine honest error that we made every attempt to rectify. The letter was seemingly ignored and she is due to attend court. I will attend as a witness and hopefully get an opportunity to explain the situation and willingly accept the fine/points. What do you think the outcome will be?

Our Response:
We really can't say what the judge will decide in this case, sorry.
NoPenaltyPoints - 30-May-18 @ 12:19 PM
Hi There My partner and I share a car and both work irregular hours. I ran a red light by one second and received a ticket but when we submitted the driver's details on the notice of prosecution form, we wrongfully submitted my partner's details believing her to be the driver on that day/date. Shortly afterwards I realised that I was in fact the driver and we wrote to the traffic prosecutions department providing my full details as the driver at the time of the offence and therefor retracting my partner's admission. It was a genuine honest error that we made every attempt to rectify. The letter was seemingly ignored and she is due to attend court. I will attend as a witness and hopefully get an opportunity to explain the situation and willingly accept the fine/points. What do you think the outcome will be?
_***** _ - 26-May-18 @ 11:07 AM
Hi i got nip for fail to comply with red /green arrow sign traffic light signals automatic equipment which im guessing it means jumping red light but it says my recorded speed was zero so i didnt go when was red just jus went a little over the stop line by a little bit n caused camera to flash, would i get done for it still as i did stop but was unlucky??
Satedy - 26-May-18 @ 4:14 AM
Boris - Your Question:
Hi I went through a amber light witch could have changed to red seconds as I went past it but not sure also had a red light camera pointing towards it this happend 6/05/18 and still haven’t heard anything but changed my address and v5 about 1 month ago will it still come to my new address if I do get a fine thanks

Our Response:
It may take longer to get to you if the DVLA records were not updated at the time of the offence.
NoPenaltyPoints - 21-May-18 @ 12:57 PM
Hi I went through a amber light witch could have changed to red seconds as I went past it but not sure also had a red light camera pointing towards it this happend 6/05/18 and still haven’t heard anything but changed my address and v5 about 1 month ago will it still come to my new address if I do get a fine thanks
Boris - 20-May-18 @ 1:16 AM
Chloebow - Your Question:
I accidentally ran a red light beacuse it was on the exit of a roundabout and I thought a car was going to pull out on me at one of the exits so I wasn’t concentrating, I have only been driving for about a year. If I was caught on camera, what is likely to happen?

Our Response:
The most likely penalty will be a 3 points plus £100 fine but there's always the possibility that you may be offered a driver/safety awareness course (these are offered at the discretion of the police).
NoPenaltyPoints - 15-May-18 @ 10:34 AM
I was pulled by a constable at 0330 for having no insurance on his system, it was fully insured as I showed him, however, he then said I ran a red light!!! And wrote a ticket out? Wtf, I did not jump a red and was wondering without evidence surely he can't prosecute me? This is malicious.
Kenny - 13-May-18 @ 10:10 AM
I accidentally ran a red light beacuse it was on the exit of a roundabout and I thought a car was going to pull out on me at one of the exits so I wasn’t concentrating, I have only been driving for about a year. If I was caught on camera, what is likely to happen?
Chloebow - 11-May-18 @ 6:30 AM
Sm9 - Your Question:
Hi there, this morning I crossed a traffic light that had already turned Amber for a few seconds and I’m unsure it if was red when I actually went over the line. There was a black rectangular box directly on top of the traffic light (much like the one in the image used on this page). I’ve been told it’s just a sensor but I’m still worried. Could it be a traffic light camera?

Our Response:
It could be, we really can't say for sure. If you were captured on camera running a red light, you should hear within 14 days assuming you are the registered keeper of the vehicle and haven't changed address or vehicle recently.
NoPenaltyPoints - 8-May-18 @ 3:40 PM
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