Home > Driver Offences > Running a Red Light

Running a Red Light

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 2 Mar 2021 | 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I was stopped by the police for crossing red light but I don't remember whether I did. How do I defend myself.
Amp - 2-Mar-21 @ 6:02 AM
My Mother is being is being prosecuted for going through a red light and they are not offering fixed penalty due to the length of time after the light had turned red. My Mother approached a red light and there were roadworks and it was unclear of where she needed to turn. So she went through a green light but hesitated so long that when she went to pull away the light had now turned red. My Sister who was in the car told my mum to stop as she had realised the lights were now red and My Mother stopped and never went over the junction. However she had clearly gone far enough to trigger the camera. When the initial notice came through my Mother was distraught. She is a cancer patient currently dealing with further health problems as well as the cancer. She has never broken the law, got a parking ticket or had any other motoring offense her entire life. Technically she did go through a red light but went a few yards and stopped. She is 79 years old and this is causing further hurt to someone who is already dealing with a lot. My question is should we appeal what I assume will be points, fine and conviction of a driving offence. I don't know what to do for best. Thanks in Advance
Ade - 16-Feb-21 @ 11:23 PM
Hi so today I was driving and the light was green and suddenly turned amber and went red but I was just past the line and it was heavy rain and too danergous to slam on my breaks because I would of slid across the junction. Will I get in trouble for this? The car next to me went through aswell? I’m scared I’m going to get the points and the fine.
L - 15-Jan-21 @ 10:34 PM
Can you go a red light driving awareness course , if first offence , even though you have 9 points for speeding offences
Bill - 14-Nov-20 @ 4:35 PM
my son was stopped at a red light next to a police car. he looked at the police officer , the PO looked back at him. The light changed to green, he drove off, the PO followed him and stopped him. Apparently he jumped the red light? Now he has a to choose to do a course or points. my son wants to appeal this in court. does he have a chance?
unknown - 11-Nov-20 @ 2:38 PM
Hi, I was driving in brockley and approaching a traffic light which was green, as I went to take the right turn the lights went Amber, as I was already travelling at a steady speed, I toke the turn and a red light traffic camera flashed twice. Am I likely to get a fine? Do I have any grounds to appeal if I do? Many thanks Sam
Sam - 22-Oct-20 @ 1:13 PM
I was driving today and the lights just turned amber as I went through but the car in front was really slow and the lights turned red as I was just past the line but in the way of traffic. So I decided to go through to not be in the way of any other traffic. Then immediately the other lights turned green for the oncoming traffic within a second me me going and then I had people beeping at me and shouting at me for going through a red light. Which I didn’t do! I’m not worried that I’m going to get reported, fined and get points!
Meg - 11-Oct-20 @ 1:26 PM
I have been driving clean for 5 yrs and nothing. I so I cannot understand at all. Few typos in my writing. I am just confused and worried.
Mitch - 10-Sep-20 @ 5:55 PM
I was going to work yesterday, (a day before the first incidence), I was behind a bus which was signaling to turn right at first. Then the bus straddle the two lanes at the traffic and I was waiting for the space just as the bus was turning and I got my chance to go. All of a sudden, a delivery van,which I believe did not see me because of the bus and I did not see the van too, cut in front of me. I planted my foot to the brake paddle to stop and just at the same time, at the same time the light went amber, I got stuck on the on the white line momentarily and have to reverse back- be just the front of the car was on the white line- I was a bit worried at first because just in two days this bad luck is happening. I need my car for my family and work. This one I hopeful than the first one but I am praying for some divine intervention...money is tight and nothing is going my way at all.
Mitch - 10-Sep-20 @ 5:49 PM
I am not sure in this case- but I was driving from Plumstead, London with a friend. I do not know the way and she was in front of me to follow her. I have a feeling there was sets of Red lights and I may have gone through or may have gone through the amber of the first and red of the second. I am so confuse right now about the fine more than the three points or both. Reason is I am very broke and have to be borrowing from an friend. Three points and fine of 1000 pounds sound very hash given that I was no familiar with the road and...I am just very confused.
Mitch - 10-Sep-20 @ 5:27 PM
Hello, I ran a red light (41 secs into red). I was stationary at the red light but had to move out of the right hand lane over the stop line to get into the left hand lane as anemergency vehicle (ambulance) came up behind me and needed to pass. I am now faced with being prosecuted with a hefty fine and points on my licence. Is there anyway to appeal this? Thank you
Tozina - 4-Sep-20 @ 3:40 PM
I was driving home from the shop and I was in traffic. The light was green as I went past the white stop line but I then got stuck in traffic and the lights went red. Have I committed an offence because I still stopped even though I went past the stop line because the light had turned red.
N - 20-Aug-20 @ 5:36 PM
Hi all, I need help. Today I discover that I have a collection item on my credit bureau report for an unpaid red light ticket (1-year-old). this is an utter shock to me as I have never received this ticket. I called the collection and find out this ticket was issued the same month I was moving from my old address to the new address. So most probably my ex-landlord has just thrown it off. I updated my address after moving in all places, but I never received any follow-up letter or any call regarding this unless today I saw it in my credit bureau report. My question is - is there any way to dispute it on the ground that i never received it? or to remove this item from my credit bureau? what is the best option for me now?
KHAN_N - 5-Jun-20 @ 9:02 PM
Hi I would ask a question if anybody know or had the same situation. I ran red light few days ago and 100% was a rod light on. My question is, after. How long it take to receive a ticket or sometimes there’s no camera in that traffic light? Because it has already been more than 10 days and haven’t received nothing yet Thanks
Sam - 23-Mar-20 @ 1:19 PM
Can the the speed cameras catch you or red light cameras catch you speeding when the tragic light is green plz answer
Imran - 9-Mar-20 @ 8:43 AM
I went through the lights on green, ambulance racing through full lights and sirens to my right....stopped to allow it to go in front of me down the same road and then went......now I have a letter to say I ran a red light......driving 25 years...never run a red light, full clean licence and no points......last time I stop for an ambulance.......
Mrs. Rossi - 20-Nov-19 @ 2:01 AM
I crossed the line at the traffic lights today when they were green, however there was traffic on front. I moved when the car on front moved which was when the light was red. Is this an offense as my car was already over the white line?
Orla - 12-Nov-19 @ 1:00 PM
Hi I was driving LGV at Soar Valley, Leicester last night arround 02:20 am, and when passing first set of lights which were green I saw next ones change to red, I was breaking when yellow came on and by complete stop I was already over white line with wheels front of cab and got flashed by red light camera, I didn't do harsh breaking as I got full loaded trailer I was breaking down gradually, what are my chances to appeal NIP and avoid getting fine and 3 penalty points!?
JFinks - 27-Oct-19 @ 9:23 PM
London/ UK. I'm new adult driver. I stopped at the red light. The green light switched ON and the light to go straight was still red. I didn't realise that there were two light instead of one. I went straight while the light was still red. My mate she was sitting at the back and told me I went through the red light. What are the percentages I can get caught. Wat are the consequences.
Cisco - 27-Oct-19 @ 8:03 PM
I was snapped by the yellow box yesterday at a busy junction due road blocks and diversions. The car in front had gone through on green and I followed while light is changing to yellow but we both stopped short of going ahead because of a motorcyclist for less than a second. By the time we moved I saw a flash behind me. No oncoming traffic from other direction just the two of us. However being the last car at the back I feel I am going to be the one receiving the NIP. Do you think I have a case to argue here? If not what are my options?
ADex - 9-Sep-19 @ 3:23 PM
Hi. I am a black cab driver. I had two passengers and I was driving in dual carriageway, before reach the traffic light as soon as I saw the amber light I did brake but my cab stopped a little further up the white line( maybe one meter). I received NIP to fail comply with red / Green arrow / lane closer traffic lightsignals. I called police and explain what happened and if I wanted did sharp brake maybe my passenger could get hurt because they didn't wear the seat belt. But I have been told it's my fault that I allow passengers didn't wear seat belt. Is there and chance I challenge the police decision?
Moe - 24-Jul-19 @ 8:27 PM
I was driving a car with my mother, she is disabled. She had a bowel cancer, and it was remowed so she sometimes need a restroom in emergency, and i had to drive through the red light. Would i be able to do something about it. Regards,
Andrew - 4-Jul-19 @ 9:28 PM
I went through red light and had flash camera what will happen nex
Ak - 9-Jun-19 @ 11:19 PM
I was driving through Sheffield at about 20 mph the light just flicked to red as I went through but I think i got flashed. I didn't feel it was safe to stop at this point as there was a car just behind me also traveling at a similar speed. I'm currently already on 3points and within my first 2 years of passing my test. What can I do about this situation?
Coil - 18-May-19 @ 11:10 PM
I received a NIP .I had been driving behind a huge lorry that obstructed my view of the lights.As soon as the lorry passed through I could see that the lights were on red and I stopped but my car passed the white line about 50 cm.However I was not obstructing traffic.I waited for the lights to turn green before I carried on driving. It is a 40 m/h road, the car behind me was close to me , I had my 6 years old daughter on board, that is an another reason I did't do a very hard braking. Would these be seen as mitigating circumstances?
ming - 25-Apr-19 @ 7:32 PM
Hi I think I have just been caught by a red light camera. I went through the lights on a green light but traffic slowed and I got stuck in the junction. So obviously couldn’t see lift change as was partially through. Could I appeal this if I get a penalty notice?
Philippa - 25-Apr-19 @ 4:18 PM
I was driving to work and think i got flashed, light was amber and i didnt feel i had enough time, but slammed my breaks but was too far through so carried on. There were roadworks at the side causing a distraction that didnt help. I wasnt speeding. Will i get a ticket?
Reyn92 - 3-Apr-19 @ 12:47 AM
Hi, I was approaching a junction late at night and felt I didn't have time to stop before the lights turned red so sped through, I think I saw a camera flash, although I didn't see a notice (I don't drive this area often). I am generally a cautious driver and haven't any point on my license in the past 10-15 years.I understand the fine but can I appeal the points on the basis of previous good driving character? Thank you
morten - 10-Feb-19 @ 9:44 AM
Hi I think I just accidentally ran a red light on a set of temporary lights near my home. I was talking to someone in the car and genuinely didn't realise until my passenger pointed it out after we parked. I'm a careful driver with a clean licence so I'm worried. There's a box on the lights. Is this likely to be a camera and if so what could I be looking at?
Marie - 1-Feb-19 @ 7:22 PM
Hi I received notice of going through a red light at 1.3 seconds.I had been driving behind a huge lorry that obstructed my view of the lights.As soon as the lorry passed through I could see that the lights were on red and I stopped but my backend of the car sat on the white line.However I was not obstructing traffic.I waited for the lights to turn green before I carried on driving.Would these be seen as mitigating circumstances? Thank you for any advice.
DJ - 28-Jan-19 @ 8:02 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments