Running a yellow lightCan you get a ticket for running the yellow light? If so, what is the criteria that determines who is and who isn’t guilty of this offence? Do red light cameras issue tickets on the yellow light? Can-Traffic recently went on the hunt for answers. As is the case with many traffic violations, the final call is often made in the field by the Police. Running a yellow light is no exception to this. Sherwood Park RCMP Constable Chantelle Kelly stated that running a yellow light is often left “up to the officers discretion”. So what does this mean exactly? Is it illegal to run a yellow light? The answer is a bit complicated. No it is not illegal to pass through the yellow light but the fine for doing so is called “Failing to stop at a yellow light. Nothing conflicting about that. The idea is, that if you are seen speeding up at a yellow, you may be cited. Maybe you preform some other risky maneuver that lands you a fine. Ultimately, it is up to the officer that witnesses the traffic violation.

At the end of the day, if you just happen to get caught in the glare of the yellow light while doing the speed limit, you should be fine. Advance warning flashers are programmed to give drivers enough notice to be able to stop in time for the traffic light. That is, assuming you are doing the speed limit.  If the yellow light turns red while you are in the intersection, you may once again, receive a ticket for failing to stop at a yellow light. As before, it is inevitably up to the Police to determine if they feel you had enough time to stop. Factors such as weather conditions, road conditions or traffic dynamics will ultimately affect the officers decision for, or against your case. Arguably, it is likely just as dangerous, to jump on your brake when you encounter a yellow light as it is passing through. There must be some discretion on behalf of the driver in determining which is the safest option for everyone on the road. Do the speed limit, drive according to the weather conditions and obey the advance warning flasher. Doing so should ensure you never see a ticket for passing through a yellow light.

What about red light cameras?

When do red light cameras actually take your picture. It will no doubt surprise you to find out that red light cameras are actually extremely lenient on when they take photos. Can-Traffic Services has installed many of these systems and this question we were able to answer in-house. Matt Kelly, one of our Senior Traffic Maintenance staff explains. “Red light cameras will only take a photo if the light has turned red before you hit the sensors at the stop line”. This means that even if the light has turned and your vehicle is literally on top of the sensors, behind the stop line, the camera will not take a photo. The sensors themselves (known in the industry as induction loops) are linked to the camera and use extremely sensitive timed equipment to operate the camera. Only if you pass the stop line after the light has turned red will you be issued a ticket.

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