We get the question of what to do with a red light camera ticket a lot. Running a red light is a serious offence, and getting that red light ticket in the mail is worrisome to most people. A lot of people who ask us about what their next steps are very concerned – they know that under the Highway Traffic Act, running a red light entails three demerit points on your driving record, which, needless to say, can be detrimental to driving insurance premiums. And, when the license plate is on a photo, it can seem like the traffic ticket is impossible to fight.
Well, in many ways, it is. It is, for obvious reasons, very hard to prove that the vehicle didn’t run a red light when it’s caught on camera. However, most of the time, we don’t recommend fighting a red light camera ticket in the first place.
The camera sees your car cross the intersection, but it doesn’t know who’s driving.
The traffic ticket is simply sent to the address against which the car’s license plate is registered. What if it’s your friend who borrowed the car for the day?
Since the camera doesn’t know who the driver was, the charge can’t be attached to any single driving record. Therefore, even if you were, in fact, the one driving, no demerit points or record of the offence can be made on your driver’s abstract, because, again, what if it wasn’t you!
This means that apart from the fine, a red light camera ticket has no ramifications for your future driving and insurance. Given such fairly limited consequences, fighting this traffic ticket is not usually cost-effective, especially because this is, generally, a losing battle (as we mentioned, it is, most of the time, hard to argue with a photo). We usually recommend requesting a trial in this type of traffic ticket only if you would like to go to court and ask for the fine to be reduced. This is possible especially if you can provide some evidence, even if it’s just an oral statement, about your difficult financial situation.
So, red light camera tickets are, of course, unpleasant, but, really, their consequences are limited. Paying the fine is often easiest. However, remember that the above doesn’t apply if you were pulled over for the same offence by a police officer – he or she can definitely tell who the driver is! If you don’t request a trial in cases where you dealt with the police, the offence can impact your driving record and insurance for years to come.