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TS10 Driving Offences: Everything You Need to Know About Traffic Signal Violations
TS10 driving offences refer to “failing to comply with traffic light signals in the UK.” This offence is more commonly known as “running a red light” and applies to any driver who does not properly follow traffic light signals, including motorbike riders, car drivers, and lorry drivers.
If convicted of a TS10 offence, the implications can include:
If you are in the position where you have been charged with such an offence and you do not know what happens next, read on for an overview of the penalties, the options available to you and an overview of the usual procedure once this type of offence has been committed.
Need help with a TS10 driving offence?
Call our team on 0151 944 4967 today!
All drivers on public roads in the UK are obliged to adhere to the rules of the road and this includes obeying traffic light signals. The rules are clear that a driver must always stop at a traffic light unless the traffic direction signal is green. An offence of failing to comply with a traffic light signal is committed when an individual drives beyond the white line on the road where a traffic signal is displaying red.
Failing to comply with a traffic signal is a ‘strict liability’ offence. This means that ‘intent’ to commit the offence does not have to be proven.
A person, therefore, fails to comply with a traffic signal if they did not intend to and even if they did not realise that in doing so they were committing an offence.
Where a red light is considered, an offence is also committed regardless of whether the driver has actually continued beyond the junction. Therefore, even if a driver has merely stopped past the white line, then an offence has been technically committed.
It is therefore essential that a driver not only stops at a red traffic light but stops behind the white line.
If a traffic light displays an amber light, then ordinarily you should slow down and ensure that you stop before the white line. Amber essentially means that you should stop unless it is unsafe to do so.
It is common among motorists to speed up when an amber light is displayed to try and “beat” the red light. In most instances, this will likely lead to an individual committing an offence for misjudging the amount of time it would take to get to the traffic lights before the lights turn red.
Whilst it is technically legal to go beyond the white line whilst the traffic lights are displaying amber it should only be done where it is not safe to stop. For example, if you are too close to the white line at the point that the lights change from green to amber.
This situation is one of the most common occurrences resulting in a charge for disobeying a traffic signal.
A traffic light camera usually catches drivers ignoring red lights and this is the most common way to be caught running a red light. This camera works by using road sensors. When a car crosses the stop line while the light is red, the camera takes a photo.
Another way that a driver may be caught disobeying a traffic signal is by dash cam footage from another vehicle. If a driver submits footage to the police of another driver driving through a red light, then this footage can be used as evidence to charge an individual with an offence.
Police don’t need photos to charge you with a red light offence; an officer seeing it happen is enough. If they spot you running a red light, they’ll usually stop you. While it’s a common myth that police need photo proof for a charge, they only need evidence like a witness statement. If you then insist you didn’t run a red light after police stop you, you’ll need to defend yourself in court.
When a traffic light camera catches a car running a red light, it alerts the police. The police then send a notice of intended prosecution and request for the driver’s information to the registered keeper of the vehicle.
In accordance with Section 1(1)(c) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, this warning and info request must reach the car’s owner within 14 days of the alleged incident.
The registered keeper is then under a duty to respond to the notice providing details as to who the driver of the vehicle was.
For more on this, like how to ask for photo proof or what happens if you don’t reply to the warning, check out our article on the topic.
If you are stopped at the roadside for a motoring offence then the police will issue you with a verbal notice of intended prosecution. As the driver has been identified at the roadside, there is no requirement to send a written notice to the registered keeper and request for the driver’s identity.
If you have confirmed that you were the driver of the vehicle then you will likely then receive a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty from the police for 3 penalty points and a £100 fine. Such an offer is usually given by police to avoid proceedings being taken to court.
Depending on how many points are on your licence, will depend upon whether you can accept the offer. For example, if you already had 9 points on your licence at the time the offence took place then you will be at risk of a 6-month driving disqualification for accumulating 12 points pursuant to Section 35 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.
Please refer to our article on ‘totting up’ and accumulating 12 points for further information.
If you do not have 9 or more points on your licence but do not accept that you are guilty of an offence or would like to challenge the penalty then your only option is to ‘reject’ the offer given to you by the police and ask that the matter is taken to court.
In some circumstances the Police may be willing to drop the charge without the need to go to court, however, this would only be in rare instances when you have video or photographic evidence to prove that you did not go through the red light.
Pursuant to Section 127 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 198 the Police have 6 months from the date of an alleged offence to issue proceedings in the Magistrates Court.
The Police will send you a ‘Single Justice Procedure Notice’ charging you with the offence. You will then have 21 days to respond, entering a plea and requesting a court hearing. If you enter a not-guilty plea, a trial date will automatically be set, but if you enter a guilty plea, you will need to request a court hearing. If you do not request a court hearing or if you do not respond to the paperwork then the Court will convict and sentence you in your absence.
If you do not accept a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, or if it is not possible for you to accept one, then the penalty at court would be:
You will be required to pay a fine in court for the offence. This will no longer be the same amount that would have been offered to you at the fixed penalty stage. The fine is calculated based upon your income and will be between 25% and 50% of your net weekly income. Although it will be capped at £1,000 and you will receive a reduction in the fine of up to 33% if you enter a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity before the deadline.
You will also be expected to cover the prosecution costs in taking the matter to court. This will be between £85 and £160 if you have pleaded guilty. The costs significantly increase if you seek to challenge a charge. If you enter a not guilty plea and proceed to trial then the prosecution costs imposed, if you are found guilty, increase to between £620 and £930.
You will also be expected to pay a victim surcharge. A victim surcharge is a penalty applied to those convicted of a criminal (including motoring) offence. The funds generated are used to find victim services in the UK. A victim surcharge is still payable even if there is no ‘victim’ and will be 40% of the fine imposed.
The Court will award 3 penalty points on your driving licence. These points will remain on your licence for a period of 3 years from the date that the offence took place.
As an offence of failing to comply with a traffic signal is a ‘strict liability’ offence there are very few defences available to the charge. There are only two ways that someone can defend the charge:
1. If you did not go through the red light.
2. If there was a defect with the traffic light or other signage.
To prove your defence in either case, you may need witness evidence or expert evidence.
If you think you’re not guilty of running a red light, you’ll need to defend yourself in court. If someone was with you in the car, they could help by swearing in court that you didn’t run the light. You’ll also need to tell your side of the story and give evidence to that effect. If however there’s a photo showing you running the light, this type of witness statement won’t help. If a police officer saw you, they’ll also need to come to court and tell what they saw. Then, the court will decide based on all the evidence they have heard.
In rare instances, traffic light cameras can be calibrated incorrectly or simply not functioning correctly. If this is the case, then you may be required to investigate by instructing an expert to conduct a report on the calibration of the camera and provide an expert opinion as to whether the camera was functioning correctly on that day.
You may be able to prove that you did not go through a red light by providing dash cam footage or CCTV footage from the date and time of the incident, which will demonstrate that the light was not on red when you passed the white line.
If you are found not guilty after a trial or if the proceedings are dropped in advance of trial then you would receive no penalty from the Court and may be entitled to a ‘defendant costs order’ to recoup a portion of any legal costs from the Court.
If you have failed to comply with a traffic signal and if there are mitigating circumstances that caused you to run the light, you may be able to avoid penalty points altogether.
The Court have the power to impose no penalty for an offence if there are ‘special reasons’ for doing so.
An application for ‘special reasons’ is usually most appropriate in circumstances where an offence may have been committed on a technical basis, but there may be significant mitigation to be considered in connection with a lack of intent to commit the offence, little or no harm caused, or less moral culpability associated with the offence.
A special reason must be:
There are a number of reasons why the court may not impose penalty points or disqualification due to ‘special reasons, such as:
“Special reasons” vary for each case, so it’s tough to fit them into a strict definition. Hence, consulting with a solicitor can help you decide whether to pursue this argument in court.
Remember, “special reasons” can’t consider personal circumstances relating to you when making an application.
Need help with a TS10 driving offence?
Call our team on 0151 944 4967 today!
At Caddick Davies Solicitors, we have a team of specialist motor defence lawyers that specialise in representing motorists at risk of a disqualification or a large number of penalty points. From the simplest to the most complex of cases, we are here to help.
We start every enquiry with an informal discussion to get a clear understanding of your circumstances and are here to answer any questions that you may have in confidence. We will talk you through the offence you have been charged with and we will advise on your prospects of success at court.
You should now have a good understanding of the process and what you can do if you’re facing TS10 driving offences for ignoring a traffic signal in the UK.
In short, you have two options:
Remember, you’re still at fault in any of these situations:
In some of these situations, the court might let you off without a penalty but your options will depend on your individual case, so always get legal advice if you’re not sure what to do.
At Caddick Davies Solicitors, we have a reputation for success when it comes to defending motorists charged with driving offences. We work with clients all over the UK and are rated in the top 20 law firms on TrustPilot.
Not all traffic signals and lights have cameras. Busy junctions are more likely to have them, especially if people often ignore the signals or accidents happen there often. But even quieter roads might have cameras. Since they can be hard to spot, it’s best to drive as if there’s a camera at every light.
There are different types of traffic signal offences, not just running a red traffic light offence, and the penalty you would get depends on the offence.
These offences get you 3 points and a fine:
These offences just get you a fine:
A TS10 offence can have a significant impact on your car insurance premiums. This is because insurers view driving convictions as an indication of increased risk. Typically, a TS10 conviction will stay on your driving record for four years from the date of the offence. During this time, you may need to disclose it when applying for car insurance, and it could lead to higher premiums.
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