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Traffic Lights and Road Sign Offences

Failing to comply with traffic lights, certain road signs or road markings, can in extreme cases result in a driving disqualification for as long as the magistrates see fit.  If the magistrates choose not to disqualify then they must impose 3 penalty points on your driving licence.  If this brings your total up to 12 penalty points or more then the magistrates must disqualify you from driving for at least 6 months unless exceptional hardship is successfully argued.  Our leading specialist solicitor, Philip Hatvany, has a 90% average success rate over the last 10 years, for saving people’s licences through arguing exceptional hardship.

If you commit such an offence and it brings your total number of penalty points up to 6, and you passed your driving test within the last 2 years, then you will have your driving licence revoked. This means that you will have to resit your driving test before you can drive again. See new driver offences.

The consequences of pleading guilty to offences of this type are therefore potentially very serious.  You can also be fined up to £1,000.  If you face such an allegation contact us as soon as possible.


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The Kind Of Road Signs, Or Road Markings, That Are Relevant For These Offences

The type of signs or road markings that “require, restrict or prohibit” the driver in some way, are the ones that can result in 3 penalty points on your driving licence or a driving ban, and up to a £1,000 fine, if you contravene their instructions.  These include;

  • Traffic lights - these can be permanent or temporary lights.
  • Certain road signs - including “stop”, “give way”, “keep left”, “no entry” and signs indicating “no right turn” or “no left turn”.
  • Certain road markings - for example, box junctions and double white lines in the middle of the road.

Traffic Lights

Not many motorists realise that driving through an amber light carries the same penalty as driving through a red light. 

It is never permissible to drive through a red light.  If any part of your vehicle crosses the stop line while the lights are red you are guilty of this offence.  This would be the case even if just the very front of your car had crossed the stop line.

You can, however, cross the stop line on an amber light if it would have been unsafe to stop.  For instance, if  you were approaching the traffic lights, and they changed from green to amber just as you reached the stop line, but there was a car very close behind you. Then it would be permissible for you to cross the stop line to prevent the car behind from crashing into you.

Defences To The Allegations That You Contravened Traffic Lights, Road Signs Or Road Markings

It should be noted that it is never a defence that you didn’t see the traffic lights change colour, or the road sign, or the road markings.  However, some examples of possible defences are as follows;

  • Particularly in relation to traffic lights, cameras may be used to catch offenders.  However, it may be argued that the cameras were not working properly.  In such cases, we would always check that they were properly calibrated.
  • A mechanical defect with the vehicle of which the driver was unaware may amount to a defence as in the case of R v Spurge.
  • Loss of control over the vehicle due to circumstances beyond the control of the driver.
  • It may be argued that the road sign was not lawful in that it didn’t comply with the relevant regulations.
  • Often the driver may put forward the defence that they had in fact complied with the traffic lights, road sign or traffic markings and the prosecution witness who says that they didn’t comply is mistaken.  In such a case the prosecution witness is often a police officer.  At Speeding Law Solicitors we are used to cross-examining such witnesses at trial in the Magistrates Court and questioning whether they really saw what they claim or whether they could have been mistaken.

Special Reasons

Even if you don’t have a defence, if the court can be persuaded that the offence was not your fault, then they do not have to impose penalty points or disqualify you.  An example of such a special reason may be if it was an emergency situation and you drove through a red light, or ignored a road sign, because you were taking someone to hospital.

Why You Should Contact Speeding Law Solicitors

The law in relation to traffic lights, road signs and road marking offences is complex.  Our leading specialist motoring law solicitor, Philip Hatvany, is very skilled at identifying defences.  He has an 82% average success rate over the last 10 years for winning trials in relation to motoring allegations.  Even if no defence is available he is very experienced at preparing mitigation (pleas for leniency), often resulting in the client’s driving licence being saved.  He frequently works at Reading, Birmingham, Oxford, Cardiff, Bath, Bristol, Southampton, Coventry and Portsmouth Magistrates Courts.  As well as these locations he often works at London Magistrates Courts.  If your court hearing is at a more distant Magistrates Court we can use one of our barristers from our select pool, located throughout England and Wales, to represent you at the hearing under Mr Hatvany’s close supervision.  As always, in relation to such cases, Mr Hatvany will carry out all the preparation meticulously before the hearing.  Contact Philip Hatvany now for a FREE telephone consultation on FREEPHONE 0800 909 8110.