Red Light Cameras

Red Light Cameras can usually be found at some of the UK’s busiest junctions. According to some these cameras are there to keep the roads safe.

The trouble is that if you do run a red light it’s not always clear as to whether you have been caught. While speed cameras flash when they have caught someone, red light cameras don’t.

It’s this that can make it difficult to know if you have been caught running a red light. The good news is that this article explains how the traffic light cameras are triggered.

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How Red Light Cameras catch Drivers 

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Red light cameras detect a vehicle that has passed through the lights. They are only ever activated once the light has turned red.

The cameras do this by using ground loops or alternatively sensors. Once a traffic signal has turned red the red light camera system is activated.

If a vehicle passed over or through the sensors the camera will catch it. So, if your vehicle were to travel over the white stop line you’re likely to get caught.

Even if you just manage to stop in time and the front of your vehicle is over the line you could get caught. This is why it’s essential that you’re aware of what the light signal is doing.

The Most Common Red Light Cameras

Some of the most common red light cameras in the country have been made by Gatsometer. These cameras contain radar technology and come with the ability to detect red light violations.

Gatsometer cameras can also detect vehicles that have exceeded the speed limit. What this means for us drivers is that we will have to make sure we don’t speed so we can zoom passed a traffic light.

Red light violations can be handed out along with speeding tickets which means you could be prosecuted for both. This is why you should always stop the vehicle if the light turned red.

Why Red Light Cameras are Being Used

Red light cameras are apparently being used to keep us safe. Camera locations are those which are thought to be quite a high risk.

If the junction typically sees many accidents take place due to speeding or someone running a red light then a red light camera may be installed. Many red light cameras help the local authorities to keep an eye on traffic and any congestion.

The trouble is that they do not flash when a yellow light has turned red and a driver has gone through it.

How to Know if you Have Been Caught

Unfortunately, there is no way to know if you have been caught by a camera. While speed cameras typically flash quite brightly red light cameras don’t.

This means that you’re only likely to know you’ve been caught if you receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution in the post. It is likely to arrive within 14 days of the alleged offence and it will be sent to the registered owner.

Different Types of Red Light Cameras

A Gatsometer camera (They come in yellow boxes) usually flashes but there are other cameras that do not flash.

In addition to this, there are some infra-red cameras out there that come with an infra-red flash. However, as you can expect the flash is not visible to anyone.

These cameras are known as Truevelo-D speed cameras and they’re occasionally used at a red light. The system becomes active if the light turned red, regardless of whether the driver intended to run the red light.

When you Have Been Caught

As we have already seen, you’re only likely to know you’ve been caught if you receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution in the post. The NIP will ask you to name the driver of the vehicle.

This is the individual who was driving at the time of the offence. You may be asked to pay a £100 fine and you may receive penalty points.

Paying the fine will ensure that your case does not end up in court. You will have 28 days to return the NIP and in it, you or the driver will be asked to plead guilty.

You could have the right to make an appeal against your penalty notice. This may be an option for you if there are mitigating circumstances surrounding your actions.

Failure to Sign or Respond to your NIP 

If you fail to sign or respond to your NIP within 28 days you may be prosecuted. You could face a fine of up to £1,000.

In addition to the fine, 6 points may be added to your licence. This punishment is used as it encourages drivers to respond quickly and appropriately.

Defences you Might be Able to Use

Even if you did not mean to run a red light you may not get away with telling the powers that be you’re innocent. If there is photographic evidence it’s less likely that you will get away with it.

If you can prove that you did not run a red light you may not be prosecuted. You may also ‘Get away’ with it if you can prove that any sign relating to the traffic lights are defective.

A court may consider any reasons that you think are important to your case. It’s always worth mentioning these as there may be a chance your punishment could be re-assessed.

Red Light Cameras and Emergency Vehicles

If you are at a red light and you move over the white line to let an emergency vehicle go passed you chances are you may still face prosecution. While the emergency services always encourages drivers to move out the way you should only do so when it is safe.

A court may not let you off a NIP if you moved to let an emergency vehicle through. However, you may want to speak to one of the Road Traffic Lawyers we use as they are experts in dealing with cases such as these.


If you pass through a red light you may be faced with a fine. You may have to pay the fine as according to the law, you put your safety and that of others at risk.

The fine you’re likely to face amounts to £100. It’s also likely that you will receive points on your licence.

The only way that you can avoid being prosecuted is to avoid running a red light. However, this is not always as easy as you’d think.

Lights can and often do change quickly leaving drivers wondering if they’ll be prosecuted. This is a little unfair as it means most drivers will face a fine at one time or another.

When you’re at a busy junction the only thing you can do is drive slowly, hoping the green light does not change. However, driving slowly could cause an accident as the vehicles behind you may be eager to get through the traffic lights.