Jessica Sautter has a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

Full Bio →

Written by Jessica Sautter
Content Writer Jessica Sautter

Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around auto insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Natasha McLachlan
Content Writer Natasha McLachlan

UPDATED: Mar 23, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider. Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything car insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by car insurance experts.

If any part of the car has already entered the intersection by the time the signal turns red, a red light violation will not generate. But, if a vehicle enters the intersection when the light is already red, a ticket will be issued. The traffic light cameras can detect the cars that pass through a red light by using special fitted sensors and ground loops installed on roads.

The sensor systems become active once the light turns red and can capture vehicles passing past the trigger. Running a red light is one of the offenses that is hard to defend because there is photographic evidence to show proof of the traffic sign violation.

Unless you can prove that you did not enter the intersection when the light was red or the equipment was faulty, then you must face the consequences. Although considered a minor traffic offense, car owners keep asking, “do red light camera tickets go on your driving record and affect insurance?”

What Happens When You Run a Red Light?

Not only is it expensive and illegal to run a red light, but it is also dangerous to the driver, vehicle occupants, and other road users. Red light tickets are charged depending on the state laws and the charges increase when the offender fails to pay up after the first violation.

For example in Florida, an initial cost of $158 goes up to $262 if not paid the first time. Unfortunately, most people do not know some things about red light violation like;

Stop before turning right

Red light cameras will flash a vehicle if it does not come to a complete stop before turning right or at a red light. Most people are culprits of the right turn violation especially when the red light is changing in a short while. As they drive away the camera is sure to capture their motion no matter how slow. In turn, cities may issue traffic tickets based on this data.

Yellow symbolizes safety

A ticket cannot be issued for driving through the yellow light even if the light is about to turn red. As long as the vehicle is in the intersection when the traffic signal turns red, no red light violation has been committed.

The car owner receives the bill

If you are captured running a red light, you will receive a notice of violation from the local jurisdiction. Regardless of who was driving the car when a red light ran, the fine always goes to the owner. These cases may bring a financial burden to car owners when the vehicle has many users. It means that all responsibility falls on the person whose name is on the registration documents and government databases. The court has no regard for who was driving at the time of the violation and will only deal with the car’s registered owner.

Not every flash is a violation

Sometimes the red light camera goes off and emits a flash even though nobody has gone through the intersection. It could be a result of a driver making a hard brake which triggers the camera yet the vehicle did not drive through. In such cases, the notification is not necessary. To avoid sending out unwarranted notifications, a police officer reviews every image to determine if there was a red light violation.

What the camera captures

The camera also records a 12 seconds long video. The notification sent has the date, time, location of the intersection where the violation occurred but usually not the driver’s face which prevents one from knowing the driver’s identity.

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save!

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

The Implication of Red Light on Your Insurance

Failing to pay the charges indicated in the first notification leads to a higher amount and the second notice counts as a ticket which goes to the vehicle owner’s license for violation.

Do red light camera tickets go on your driving record?

Controversy aside, the fact is, a red light violation is still a road traffic offense, and fines vary by state and have occasionally led to death. Penalties for red light violations may not be as heavy as those charged when a police officer pulls a driver over.

For instance, when a fine charged is not high, the license may not be affected through deduction of points as it is with other cases, and the ticket issued as an administrative violation like a parking ticket. A moving violation, on the other hand, will automatically go on your record.

Red light violations may not go to a driver’s record the first time, but repeated offenses or defaulting penalties may land you there. Depending on each state’s laws, red light violations are charged, and failure to pay penalties are addressed separately.

California, Oregon, and Arizona are three of the strictest states to red light camera violations where they treat it as traditional red light offenses.

California – there is a $100 base fine, 1 point and $400 in extra fees.
Oregon – the penalty can go as high as $1000 fine.
Arizona – the court imposes a $165 fine and 2 points on the state’s system.

Regardless of the state, multiple red light camera tickets may easily land on record. If the offense carries points, the driving record will show the same, and the insurance company can see. Each state dictates how the penalty settlement but as long as it goes on the record, the insurer will make adjustments.

In most states, failure to pay the first notice attracts an additional penalty both monetary and the offense citation may change to a uniform traffic citation.

Do red light camera tickets affect insurance?

Depending on the insurance company, again the premium rates are adjusted but towards the higher side. There may be no immediate spikes in the insurance policy, but there definitely will be changes during renewal. The driver’s record must be clean to avoid paying high insurance rates, from red light camera violations or traditional traffic violation.


Although the issue of red light cameras is controversial, new state law in Ohio might allow drivers to go through a red light. This new law only conditions that the driver first comes to a complete stop at a red light. The bill, however, sounds like an invitation for everyone to roll up at a red light momentarily then they proceed to their destination.

It was designed to ease of movement for people with emergencies, but it may be just but another way to justify red light violations. The police forces have opposed the law and claims that the number of crushes will only go up if the state implements such laws.


Do not enter the intersection after the onset of red. To avoid adding points to the driver’s license and also incurring insurance increments, drivers must consider taking basic driver improvement courses. Red light violation tickets can be financially draining especially when left unpaid.

Even when the violation fine is unmerited, it is wise to contest the notice in court soon enough; otherwise, the charges keep accumulating. The process of getting the mess untangled keeps getting worse. Running a red light may be a conscious choice to some especially in states like Florida where the penalty is low, and no points are added but repeating the offense may attract a higher insurance policy and a tainted record.

There are enough crashes with the red light rules in place, and the state of Ohio seems adamant about increasing those numbers. People already seem in a rush to go nowhere, giving them an excuse to run the red lights may as well be an invitation to not stop at any red light.