The consequences of running red lights or stop signs, the associated charges, and the possible defences available to offenders
Running red lights or stop signs is a serious traffic offence that endangers not only the driver but also other road users, including pedestrians and cyclists. In New South Wales (NSW), strict traffic laws govern these violations to ensure the safety and smooth flow of traffic.
Examples of Running Red Lights or Stop Signs
Disregarding a Red Traffic Signal
When a driver fails to stop at a red traffic signal, they commit a grave violation that can lead to severe consequences.
Ignoring a Stop Sign
Failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign is a common offence that jeopardizes the safety of other road users.
Charges and Penalties
Running a Red Light:
Charge: Fail to Stop at Red Traffic Light
Penalty: A fine of $464 and the imposition of three demerit points.
Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign
- Charge: Fail to Stop at Stop Sign
- Penalty: A fine of $464 and the addition of three demerit points to the driver’s record.
Available Defences for Running Red Lights or Stop Signs:
- Emergency Situations:
- A driver may be able to justify running a red light or stop sign if it was necessary to avoid imminent danger or harm to themselves or others.
- Equipment Malfunction:
- If the driver can demonstrate that the traffic light or stop sign malfunctioned, leading to the violation, this could serve as a defence.
- Duress or Necessity:
- If the driver can prove that they were compelled to run the red light or stop sign under duress or out of necessity, it may be considered a valid defence.
Consequences of Repeat Offences:
Habitual Offender Declaration:
- Repeat offenders who persist in running red lights or stop signs may be declared as “Habitual Offenders.”
- Habitual Offenders face extended periods of license disqualification and more stringent penalties.
Running red lights or stop signs is not only illegal but also dangerous, posing significant risks to road safety for all users. In NSW, these traffic offences carry substantial fines and demerit points that can lead to license suspension or disqualification for repeat offenders. Drivers must adhere to traffic regulations, obey traffic signals, and be vigilant at intersections to prevent these violations and ensure the safety of themselves and others on the road. If faced with a red light or stop sign violation, you should consult with legal professionals to explore potential defences and ensure the best possible outcome for their case.