Disobey Red Light
Red Light Tickets – Highway Traffic Act 144.18
In Ontario, adhering to traffic rules is essential for road safety, as mandated by the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.
A critical aspect of these rules is the proper observance of traffic signals, specifically red lights. When a driver fails to stop at a red traffic light, it is not just a mere traffic violation but a safety concern, endangering not only the driver but pedestrians and other road users.
Red Light Tickets: What the Law Says
Highway Traffic Act Section 144.18: Every driver approaching a traffic control signal showing a circular red indication and facing the indication shall stop his or her vehicle and shall not proceed until a green indication is shown.
The phrase “Every driver approaching a traffic control signal showing a circular red indication and facing the indication shall stop his or her vehicle and shall not proceed until a green indication is shown” is a formal way of stating a fundamental traffic rule.
It means that whenever a driver is nearing a traffic signal that displays a red light (described here as a “circular red indication”), the driver must bring their vehicle to a complete stop.
Once stopped, the driver is required to remain stationary and cannot continue to move through the intersection or pass the signal. The only time they are permitted to proceed is when the traffic light changes to a green light.
Penalty for Disobeying a Red Light
Red light tickets in Ontario carry specific penalties, which are important for drivers to understand:
- Fine: The immediate penalty for a red light ticket is a fine of $325.
- Demerit Points: Along with the fine, the violation incurs 3 demerit points.
- Conviction Duration: The conviction for a red light violation stays on the driver’s record for 3 years.
In contrast, red light camera tickets are treated differently due to the nature of how they are issued:
- Camera Ticket Fine: These tickets result only in a fine, as the driver’s identity is not confirmed.
- No Demerit Points or Driving Record Impact: No demerit points are assigned, and the conviction does not appear on the driver’s record.
- Vehicle-Based Conviction: The conviction is associated with the vehicle, not the individual driver, since the driver is not identified at the time of the offence.
Additional details regarding these penalties include:
- Out of Court Penalty: The standard out-of-court penalty for disobeying a red light is also $325.00.
- Increased Fines in Specific Circumstances: In cases involving accidents, serious incidents, or a trial conviction, fines can be increased up to $1000.00 by a justice of the peace.
- Application of Demerit Points: Demerit points are only added after a conviction and are dated back to when the ticket was issued, not the conviction date. These points are not applied while the case awaits trial.
- Record of Conviction: Upon conviction, the driver’s record with the Ministry of Transportation will reflect the conviction for 3 years.
- Impact on Insurance Rates: Any conviction noted on a driving record can potentially affect insurance rates, underscoring the importance of adhering to traffic laws.
Understanding these penalties and their implications is crucial for drivers to appreciate the seriousness of red light violations and the importance of safe driving practices.
Where to Stop for a Red Light
Upon approaching a red traffic signal drivers are required to stop:
- at the roadway marking indicating where the stop is to be made
- immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk, or
- immediately before entering the intersection
When approaching an intersection, most intersection have a white stop line, drivers must stop before the stop line.
Where there is no stop line, drivers must stop before entering the crosswalk. Where there is not a stop line, or crosswalk drivers must stop before entering the intersection.
Where to stop – intersection HTA s.144.5
(5) A driver who is directed by a traffic control signal erected at an intersection to stop his or her vehicle shall stop,
- at the sign or roadway marking indicating where the stop is to be made;
- if there is no sign or marking, immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk; or
- if there is no sign, marking or crosswalk, immediately before entering the intersection.
Red light traffic tickets will affect insurance rates for drivers.
Where any traffic ticket conviction appears on a drivers abstract/record the insurance will penalise the driver with increased rates.
Where an accident has occurred the driver will be penalised twice:
- once for a traffic conviction
- once for being “at fault” in the accident
The impact of an accident and traffic ticket can increase insurance rates dramatically.
Once the driver is convicted of disobeying a red light, the court sends a notice to the Ministry of Transportation.
The Ministry of Transportation then adds the conviction to the driving record/abstract.
Driving abstracts are available to anyone who has the drivers licence number from the Ministry of Transportation.
The current fee for this service is $12 and abstracts can be immediately obtained at this link. Online Ontario Driver Abstracts
The way an insurance company learns about a traffic ticket or conviction is:
- The insurance company contacts
- the driver calls and
- tells the insurance company that they received a ticket
- or reports an accident
Each insurance company is a private company with their own set of rules and standards.
Obeying lane lights
(10) Every driver shall obey every traffic control signal that applies to the lane that he or she is in and, for greater certainty, where both a traffic control signal that is not a bicycle traffic control signal and a bicycle traffic control signal apply to the same lane,
(a) a person riding or operating a bicycle in that lane shall obey the bicycle traffic control signal; and
(b) a person driving a vehicle other than a bicycle in that lane shall obey the traffic control signal that is not a bicycle traffic control signal.
(18) Every driver approaching a traffic control signal showing a circular red indication and facing the indication shall stop his or her vehicle and shall not proceed until a green indication is shown.