Colored with scrolling

Try scrolling the rest of the page to see this option in action.

Red Light Camera Tickets: Understanding Your Options

Red Light Camera Tickets: Understanding Your Options

May 04, 2024

Red light tickets can be annoying and there are many scenarios of how those can appear. Ever cruised through an intersection just as the light turned yellow, only to be greeted by a flash in the mail a few weeks later? Red light camera tickets are a fact of life for many Canadian drivers. It is very helpful and important to understand what to do when you get these tickets and how to act.

Understanding Red Light Camera Tickets

If you’ve found yourself with one of the tickets, it’s important to understand your rights, including how to handle the ticket, the implications on your driving record, and the potential defences you might have.

Who Gets the Ticket?

When a car reaches a junction after the traffic light has turned red, red light camera systems immediately take pictures of the license plate of the car. Unlike a traditional speeding ticket, red-light camera tickets are typically issued to the vehicle owner, not the driver. This means you could be on the hook for the fine even if you weren’t behind the wheel.

This is noteworthy since it indicates that the ticket will be issued regardless of the driver at the moment. This frequently has an impact on fleet-owning organizations in addition to individuals. It’s important to understand that this aligns with highway traffic law, which holds the registered owner responsible for certain violations captured by automated systems.

The Impact on Your Driving Record

In Canada, the impact of a red light camera ticket on your driving record can vary between provinces and territories. In some regions, these tickets do not lead to demerit points as they are issued to the vehicle rather than the driver. However, they usually come with a monetary fine that must be paid by the vehicle owner. It’s important to address these tickets promptly to avoid additional penalties or fines. These tickets do not directly lead to driver’s license suspension.

For more severe offences, such as impaired driving in Canada, the stakes are much higher. Impaired driving can lead to criminal charges, significant fines, and long-term driver’s license suspension. These serious violations can affect not just your driving record but your entire future, impacting job opportunities and personal freedoms.

What are the Costs?

The fine amount for a red light camera ticket varies by province, but it typically falls between $150 and $350.  There may also be additional court fees or victim surcharge levies. One benefit: red light camera violations don’t come with demerit points on your driver’s license. However, dealing with speeding tickets, which may also arise from automated traffic enforcement, can result in demerit points and higher fines, emphasizing the need for cautious driving.

Do I Have Options?

Yes! In most provinces, you have the option to:

  • Pay the fine: This is usually the simplest option, but it signifies you accept responsibility for the violation.
  • Dispute the ticket: If you believe the ticket was issued in error, you can plead your case in court. Reasons for disputing a ticket could be a malfunctioning camera, unclear signage, or extenuating circumstances.

How Do I Dispute the Ticket?

You have the opportunity to appeal if you think a red light camera citation was issued incorrectly or if there are exceptional circumstances, including hidden signs or broken traffic signals. Appealing a traffic court decision involves presenting your case to a judge or a designated hearing officer. The apeling procedure mainly requires collecting data, evidence like photos of the intersection, traffic learnings or witness statements that support the specific claim.

The specific process for disputing a red light camera ticket varies by province. Here are some general steps:

  • Review the ticket: Carefully examine the details of the violation, including the date, time, and location.
  • Contact your provincial traffic authority: They will provide information on the dispute process and deadlines. This information is usually available on the provincial government website.
  • Gather evidence: If you have any evidence to support your case (e.g., witness statements, dashcam footage), be sure to include it with your dispute.
  • Always keep in mind that there are deadlines to dispute a ticket and those are quite strict, act quickly!

Avoiding Future Tickets: Proactive Measures and Safe Driving Tips

To prevent getting into trouble and getting fined because of red light camera tickets, it will be good to be proactive and avoid it by sticking to several safer driving habits and practices. The likelihood of getting these tickets can be considerably decreased by being aware of safe junction manoeuvres and the activities that result in red light violations. Here are some tips to help you drive more safely and avoid future infractions:

  • Examine Intersection Rules: Always make sure that you are familiar with the latest intersection laws of your province. This includes understanding how to properly respond to yellow lights, which often confuse drivers into making risky decisions.
  • Become More Aware: Be alert when approaching and navigating junctions. Due to distraction or a lack of awareness of their surroundings, many drivers receive penalties. Cutting back on distractions, like using a phone while driving, can improve your concentration.
  • Timing Yellow Lights: Understanding the duration of yellow lights in the routes you are frequently driving in is important. If you notice that the yellow phase is particularly short, be more cautious and prepare to stop rather than accelerate to beat the red light.
  • Use Defensive Driving Techniques: Defensive driving involves anticipating potential hazards and making safe and well-informed decisions. By adopting these techniques, you can maintain control in various traffic situations and reduce the likelihood of violations.

Red light camera tickets can be tiring but those become more manageable when you know what options and right you have in that specific situation. Being informed is helpful regardless of your chosen option of paying or disputing.

Recall that the goal of these penalties is not only to punish drivers but also to increase road safety. You can help make roads safer for everyone by driving more defensively and being alert at intersections. This will also lessen the chance of receiving tickets in the future. To guarantee that you and your loved ones stay safe when driving, be aware of the traffic rules in your area and take proactive measures. Subscribe to LawVo to get help with red light camera tickets easily.

Back to blogs