Disobey Red Light

Red Light Traffic Signal – Red Light Camera Tickets

Red Light Tickets – Highway Traffic Act 144.18

Red light traffic ticketRed lights and traffic control systems are used to control and regulate intersections on roadways in Ontario.

In Ontario red light tickets can be issued either by red light cameras or by a police officer.

Police officers may issue a red light tickets when they believe that a driver has failed to stop when required at an intersection.

Driver are required to stop at the stop line, before the crosswalk at an intersection as described in section 144.5 of the Highway Traffic Act.


Related charges

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,

  1. at the sign or roadway marking indicating where the stop is to be made;
  2. if there is no sign or marking, immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk; or
  3. if there is no sign, marking or crosswalk, immediately before entering the intersection.

Red Light Penalties

Red light tickets have the following penalties:

  • fine of $325
  • 3 demerit points
  • conviction on driving record for 3 years

Red light camera tickets are only a fine.  They do not appear on the driving record and no demerit points are issued.  The conviction for a red light camera ticket goes against the vehicle not the driver.

The reason is because for red light camera tickets the driver is unknown as the vehicle was not stopped by the police.

The out of court penalty for disobey red light is $325.00.

Where an accident, serious incident or the driver is convicted at trial, the justice of the peace may increase the fine up to $1000.00.

Red light tickets have 3 demerit points.

Demerit points are applied only upon conviction and go back to the date the driver was issued the ticket, not the conviction date.  Demerit points are not applied while the case is waiting to appear for trial.

Upon conviction, a record of the conviction will appear on the driving abstract with the Ministry of Transportation for 3 years.

Any conviction on a driving abstract/record can affect insurance rates.

Summons to Appear in Court

Where an accident or serious event has occurred the police officer can, in lieu of issuing a ticket with a fine on it issue a summons to appear.

The police officer issues a summons because they are seeking a higher penalty than the $325 fine.

Where a summons to appear is issued the driver or their legal representative must appear before the Justice on the date given.

Where they do not appear the Justice may:

  • convict the driver in their absence, or
  • issue a bench summons commanding the police to arrest the driver and bring them before the court.

Insurance Implications

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.


Driver Abstracts/Records

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


Insurance Companies

The way an insurance company learns about a traffic ticket or conviction is:

Each insurance company is a private company with their own set of rules and standards.

Demerit Points

Where convicted of disobeying a red light the driver will receive 3 demerit points.

The demerit points are only added to the driving record/abstract only affect convicted at court or the driver pays the ticket.

The demerit points are kept on the driving record for 2 years from the date of offence.


Related information:

Demerit Points

Drivers are not suspended for disobeying a red light.


Unpaid Fines

The driver maybe suspended where any fine goes into default.

Where the licence is suspended for an unpaid fine, the licence will be suspended until the payment is made to the court.


Demerit Point Suspensions

The accumulation of demerit points can result in a licence suspension.

Legal Definition

Highway Traffic Act

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.


Red light

(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.

Case Law

R. v. Richards, 2009 ONCJ 651 (CanLII)
2009-12-22 | 6 pages | cited by 1 document
red — visibility — offence of careless driving — approaching — fog
[…] [12] I note her evidence of stopping at the red light was very sparse. […] [14] I did not find Ms Richards testimony on stopping at the red light to have an air of credibility. […] [24] Further, Ms Richards despite failing to stop for the red light, cannot be found guilty of an offence under s. 144(18), as it is not an included offence within s. 130 HTA nor was she informed on the charging certificate of the possibility of having to defend herself against this charge. […]

R. v. Marrocco, 2012 ONCJ 535 (CanLII)
2012-08-28 | 10 pages | cited by 5 documents
vehicle — red light — southbound — insurance card — officer
[…] 1) Red Light – Fail to Stop: Highway Traffic Act , section 144(18) […] 10. Red Light – Fail to Stop Section 144(18) of the Highway Traffic Act provides as follows: “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.” […] That affected me pulling over, and then, I was at a red light.” • When he was at the red light he saw the officer behind him. […];

R. v. Scetto, 2013 ONCJ 236 (CanLII)
2013-05-03 | 95 pages
pickup truck — pedestrian crosswalk — light — traffic — bicyclist
[…] 24, 2010, collision between the pickup truck and Erwin Gadong, they swore out an information on February 17, 2011, charging the driver of the pickup truck, Benito Scetto, with a Part III regulatory offence for “failing to stop for a red light”, contrary to s. 144(18) of the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8 . […] [7] Under a Part III information sworn on February 17, 2011, the defendant had been charged with committing the offence of “red light – fail to stop”, contrary to s. 144(18) of the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8 . […] Police had interviewed witnesses who were at the intersection at the time of the collision, including the defendant, and after completing their investigation of the collision, they decided to charge the defendant with committing the offence of “red light – fail to stop”, contrary to s. 144(18) of the Highway Traffic Act . […]