Running a red light can result in a very serious accident—such as a head-on collision or a side-impact accident.
If you pull up to a busy intersection, there is a good chance that a red light camera will be hidden there.
The purpose of these cameras is to act as a deterrent and catch drivers who run red lights, and with this, hopefully encourage drivers to stop at red lights.
If you have run a red light recently, you may be wondering whether or not this traffic violation will increase your insurance rate.
In this article, we take a look at what red light traffic violations are, how much you can expect to pay for this traffic violation, as well as how much your auto insurance rates could increase—if at all.
What Does It Mean to Run a Red Light?
Simply put, red light tickets are issued when you don’t follow red light traffic laws. Generally speaking, this happens when a red light camera captures your license plate number when you run a red light, after which a traffic ticket will be sent to you.
However, there are times when a police officer will stop you for running a red light. The following instances are what constitute running a red light:
- Failing to stop at a red light.
- Failing to yield correctly to pedestrians and other vehicles.
- Failing to stop at red flashing lights.
- Failing to stop at a red arrow light.
What Happens If You Run a Red Light?
Running a red light is considered a moving violation and can therefore result in a fine, as well as points being added to your driver’s license.
When you receive a red light ticket, this traffic violation will go onto your driving record. The length of time that it will stay on your driving record varies from state to state, but will generally be on your driving history for a period of three years.
In the table* below, you will find everything that you need to know about:
- How much you will pay in fines for running a red light.
- The points you may accumulate on your driving record.
- Whether attending traffic school will help get your ticket dismissed.
- When your driving license may be suspended.
- Whether you can expect jail time for running a red light.
|State||Avg. Fines||Points||Traffic school||License suspension rate||Jail|
|Alabama||Up to $155||3 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums.||No, but judge and case-specific circumstances allow for traffic school as means of dismissing tickets.||Case-specific.||Excluded from point count after two years, unstated officially regarding driving record, but typically, never more than three years.|
|Alaska||Up to $150||4 points, insurance premiums will possibly increase.||Yes, more than 6 points in a year for provisional license holders. Traffic school can be used once annually to reduce the overall point total.||Two suspensions based on points in two years.||Point accumulating offenses on driving record for five years.|
|Arizona||Officer discretion||2 points, premiums on insurance may rise.||Not required, but voluntary attendance will dismiss the ticket and avoid it being placed on the driving record.||Case-Specific.||Point accumulating offenses on driving record for five years.|
|Arkansas||Up to $100||3 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums.||Case specific, but potentially required.||License revocation on a case-specific basis.||Point accumulating offenses on driving record up to five years.|
|California||Up to $100||1 point, insurance rates may increase.||Yes, case-specific, but one offense per eighteen months may be masked from public view if completed traffic school.||License suspension reinstatement automatically requires an administrative hearing.||One-point offenses remain on record for three years, and two-point offenses remain on record for seven years.|
|Colorado||$80-$120||4 points, insurance premiums will possibly increase.||Yes, case-specific, but will not dismiss points from the record.||A hearing is required to determine on a case-specific basis, 12 points accumulated equals mandatory suspension.||Point accumulating offenses on driving record no less than seven years.|
|Connecticut||$124||2 points, premiums on insurance may rise.||May be required by the clerk, dismissal of fines or points possible through clerk-approved traffic school arrangement.||Ten (points accrued result in suspension, revocation case-specific pending hearing.||Points remain on the driver record for two years.|
|Delaware||$75 or possibly more at officer discretion||3 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums.||Yes, case-specific and required, may be used to reduce the overall point count.||Accumulation of fourteen points means mandatory suspension for four months.||Points offenses remain on record for at least three years and up to more than five pending offense.|
|DC||Officer discretion||2-3 points, insurance premiums may increase.||Yes, may be required, and can be used as means of reducing the point total.||10 points accumulated requires a 90-day suspension, 12 point accumulation requires revocation needing official reinstatement.||Points remain on the driver’s record for two years.|
|Florida||Officer discretion||4 points, insurance premiums will possibly increase.||Yes, and basic driver improvement courses are an option for dismissing points.||Twelve points in one year require mandatory suspension, revocation is case specific and determined by hearing.||Offenses resulting in points kept on driving record for seven years.|
|Georgia||$150-$325||3 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums.||Yes, and can potentially be used for one violation reduction every five (5) years.||Accumulation of fifteen points in two years results in suspension.||Offenses resulting in points kept on driving record for seven years.|
|Hawaii||Officer discretion||Point system is not applicable in the state, insurance rates may increase, though.||Yes, may be mandated in event of serious offenses.||Case-specific.||Offenses may remain on traffic abstract for no more than ten years.|
|Idaho||$10-$141.50||3 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums.||Yes, once every three years, drivers may reduce the points total by three points.||Risk of suspension after 11 points in one year or 17 points in two years.||Point accumulating offenses on driving record for three years.|
|Illinois||$75||20 points, insurance premiums may rise.||Yes, required for some offenses, can be used as means of dismissing points in lieu of license suspension.||Mandatory suspension for accumulation of 15 points, revocations begin at 110 points.||Point accumulating offenses remain on record for four to five years.|
|Indiana||At least $100||6 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums.||Yes, a driver safety program required in case of specific situations and in lieu of point total nearing suspension levels.||Suspension based on hearing if driver accrues more than 18 points in two years.||Point accumulating offenses remain on record for two years.|
|Iowa||Case specific||None, violation may increase insurance premium rates, though.||Yes, courts may require a driver improvement program.||Suspension required if three or more violations assessed in one-year period.||Point and other violations remain on record for at least five years.|
|Kansas||$116 -$176||No point system in state, violation may raise insurance premiums rates.||Yes, may be required, and may be done every three years to garner better insurance premiums.||Conviction of three moving violations in one year risks license suspension.||Violation convictions on record for up to five years.|
|Kentucky||$20-$100||3 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums.||Yes, can elect to attend once per year if eligible to dismiss violation for a given offense causing attendance.||Suspension hearing required if accumulated more than twelve points in a two-year period.||Points expire after two years, but remain on driver record for five years.|
|Louisiana||First offense up to $175||No point system, reported to PDPS, may increase insurance rates.||Yes, may be required, and can be used to suspend a conviction of violation.||Specific violations result in suspension, including the vague wording of “excessive violations,” number not noted.||Less than ten years of convictions remain on driving record.|
|Maine||$25-$500||4 points, insurance premiums will possibly increase.||Yes, may be mandated, can be used to dismiss three demerit points per one-year period.||License suspension for fifteen days required for persons with more than 12 demerit points in a 12-month period.||Violations remain on driving record for three years up to no more than ten years.|
|Maryland||Up to $500||2 points, premiums on insurance may rise.||None.||License revoked for drivers with 12 points if driver using a vehicle for employment) in two years.||Violations expunged from driving record every three-year cycle.|
|Massachusetts||Up to $50||2 points, premiums on insurance may rise.||Yes, required if the driver accumulates five surchargeable events in three years.||License suspensions begin with three speeding violations being recorded in a one year period.||All driving records remain in effect from “mid-eighties” to the present.|
|Michigan||Case specific, normally up to $250||3 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums.||Yes, potentially mandated.||Accrual of 12 points in two-year period subjects the driver to license suspension of not more than one year.||Points remain on driving records ever more than ten years, affecting insurance rates for about three years.|
|Minnesota||Up to $200||None, violations may increase insurance premium rates, though.||Yes, courts may require driver improvement courses in lieu of or on top of existing offenses.||Conviction of three offenses in one year results in license suspension, with the length determined via hearing.||Offense counts ended on a yearly cycle.|
|Mississippi||Up to $100||No point system in the state, the violation may raise insurance premiums rates.||Yes, potentially mandated, but can be used to dismiss offenses.||Suspension or revocation at the discretion of licensing agency.||Offenses maintained on active record for more than four years.|
|Missouri||$5-$500||2 points, premiums on insurance may rise.||Yes, either mandatory or voluntarily undergone to reduce the point total.||Driver subject to suspension for accumulation of more than 8 points in eighteen months.||Moving violations maintained on record for up to three years, suspension on record for five years.|
|Montana||$10-$100||2 points, premiums on insurance may rise.||Yes, potentially mandated as a sanction, but will not reduce or dismiss points.||An accrual of 6 points in eighteen months makes drivers subject to sanctions, but an accrual of 15 points in thirty-six months mandates suspension.||Points are applied to record for three years, but traffic violations remain in the state database permanently.|
|Nebraska||First offense up to $100, subsequent up to $200||1 point, insurance rates may increase.||Yes, possibly mandated as a sanction, but also, can be used to remove 2 points every five years.||Accumulation of 12 points in two years immediately revokes the license for six months.||Driver’s records are viewed as public record, and infractions remain visible indefinitely.|
|Nevada||Up to $1,000||4 points, insurance premiums will possibly increase.||Yes, potentially required, but also, can be used once per one year period to reduce points voluntarily.||Accrual of 12 points in twelve months results in six-month license suspension.||Driver records maintained for three years for private individuals, longer for commercial drivers.|
|New Hampshire||Up to $1,000||3 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums.||Yes, required in some instances and as possible means of reducing points.||Accrual of 12 points in twelve months results in three-month license suspension.||Points remain on driving record for three years using Jan.1 as effective start date of three-year period.|
|New Jersey||$50-$200||2 points, premiums on insurance may rise.||Yes, case depending may be required, otherwise can be used to remove 2 points from the record.||An accrual of 12 points in a two-year period requires 30-day suspension of license.||Driver history abstract available in complete form or within a five-year period.|
|New Mexico||$10-$200||3 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums.||Yes, may be mandated or voluntarily undergone for points reduction.||Accumulation of 7 to 10 points in one year may result in a three-month suspension, pending hearing.||A violation could lead to a reckless driving conviction. If it causes a fatality the driver will face vehicular homicide charges.|
|New York||$30-$100||3 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums||Yes, potentially required in specific cases, and may be used to remove up to 4 points in some cases.||Accumulation of 11 points in an eighteen-month period results in one month’s license suspension.||Driving record points may be removed no later than four years from offense, but potential to view the last ten years of record available.|
|North Carolina||Up to $100||3 points, insurance premiums will possibly increase.||Yes, driver improvement clinics may be mandated, and can be used once every five years for a 3 point reduction.||Accumulation of more than 12 points in three years makes license subject to suspension.||Driving record points are counted against driver for up to three years, and violations on record available for viewing up to seven years.|
|North Dakota||Up to $500||Officer discretion may increase insurance premiums.||Yes, and drivers may elect to undergo a driver improvement course once annually to reduce by 2 points.||Every point accumulated above 11 points requires a seven-day license suspension.||Violations older than three years do not remain on driving records.|
|Ohio||First offense up to $100||2 points, premiums on insurance may rise.||Yes, remedial driving instruction may be legally required to reinstate driving privileges.||Accumulation of more than 12 points in two years makes drivers subject to six-month suspension.||Violations older than three years are not included in the current driving record.|
|Oklahoma||$10-$200||2 points, premiums on insurance may rise.||Yes, potentially mandated, but also can be used to reduce 2 points.||Accumulation of more than 10 points subjects drivers to license suspension of one month.||Offenses in the last three years are recorded on driving records.|
|Oregon||Up to $300||No point system – may increase insurance rates.||Yes, if mandated, but not possible to reduce offense total.||Conviction of four offenses in an eighteen-month period requires a hearing with a driver improvement interview.||Offenses and convictions for traffic violations remain on record for more than five years.|
|Pennsylvania||At least $25||3 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums.||Yes, if mandated as a sanction, but not a means of reducing violations or dismissing points.||Accumulation of more than 6 points requires examination, accumulation of 6 more points requires hearing of potential suspension.||Violations remain on record for three years, and for employment checks only, ten year records can be obtained.|
|Rhode Island||$50||No point system – may increase insurance rates.||Yes, if mandated by licensing authority.||Incurring three or more major violations in a three-year period results in one to five year suspension of license.||Records of violations and offenses are kept for three years.|
|South Carolina||First offense up to $200||4 points, insurance premiums will possibly increase.||Yes, potentially mandated and means of removing 4 points.||Accumulation of 12 points in twelve months results in suspension, points older than one year counted at half value.||Driving records are available in three and ten year-increments.|
|South Dakota||First offense up to $200||3 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums.||No.||Accumulating 15 more points in one year, or 22 points in two year-period results in a suspension of 60 days.||Driving records of offenses and violations are maintained indefinitely, points remain on record for three years.|
|Tennessee||First offense up to $50||4 points, insurance premiums will possibly increase.||Yes, may be mandated, and drivers may reduce points through courses once every five years.||Accumulation of more than 12 points in a one-year period results in license suspension.||Driving records maintained for three years.|
|Texas||$1-$200||2 points, premiums on insurance may rise.||Yes, potentially required, and may be used to dismiss violations.||Incurring four or more violations in one year runs the risk of suspension.||Driving record offenses and violations remain on record for no more than five years.|
|Utah||Officer discretion||50 points, may increase premium rates on insurance.||Yes, possibly court-mandated, and if necessary, can be used once every three years to remove 50 points.||Accumulating more than 200 points on license, if over 21 years old, in a three-year period results in a mandatory suspension of three months.||Moving violations remain on the driving record for three years.|
|Vermont||First offense up to $175||2 points, premiums on insurance may rise.||Yes, possibly required as part of license reinstatement.||Incurring 10 or more points in a two-year period results in license suspension.||Violations remain on record for no more than three years.|
|Virginia||Up to $200||3 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums.||Yes, a driver improvement clinic may be required, and possibly used to offset 5 demerit points.||Accumulating more than 18 points in one year, or more than 24 points in two years results in license suspension.||Moving violations remain on the driving record for three years and speeding violations remain on record for five years in state.|
|Washington||Up to $250||No point system – may increase insurance rates.||Yes, potentially required by court authority.||Accruing four offenses in one year or five offenses in two years leaves potential for authority to suspend license as desired.||Moving violations and accidents remain on the driving record for five years.|
|West Virginia||Up to $100||3 points, expect negligent increase on insurance premiums.||Yes, drivers may be legally bound to attend, and attendance may reduce points as well.||Accumulating more than 12 points results in license suspension for no more than one year at discretion of authority.||[something missing?]|
|Wisconsin||$40-$300||3 points, expect a negligent increase on insurance premiums.||Yes, sometimes required, but voluntarily taken can reduce points by 3 every five years.||Incurring 12 or more points in one year makes the driver subject to suspension at the discretion of the authority.||Violations, suspensions, and revocations remain on record for five years from the date of conviction.|
|Wyoming||Up to $200||No point system- may increase insurance rates.||No.||Conviction of four violations in a one-year period results in 90-day suspension.||Violations remain on the driver’s record for no more than three years.|
*Source: Traffic Violation Law Firms
Is There a Difference between Red Light Camera Tickets and Summons from Police Officers?
In most states, when you have been caught on camera for running a red light, it is handled quite differently than if you have been caught by a police officer.
It may be the same offense, but the penalty is very different.
A red light camera summons goes against the vehicle and not the driver, whereas a ticket from a police officer goes against you, the driver.
In other words, a police officer will generally serve you both a summons and a fine for running a red light. If you don’t pay the fine, the authorities may issue a warrant for your arrest. This is a serious traffic violation and will appear on your driving record.
However, if you run a red light and are caught on camera, this is considered a civil penalty. In this instance, you will receive a ticket in the mail between three to seven days. You won’t receive a warrant for your arrest if you don’t, for example, pay the ticket on time.
If you loaned your vehicle to someone else and you receive a red light camera ticket in the mail, you will still be liable for paying the fine.
Will Running a Red Light Increase the Premiums from Your Insurance Company?
Your auto insurance premium may increase if you have run a red light, but it depends on the state that you live in.
There are some states that have made it illegal for auto insurance companies to use red light cameras or speeding camera violations to calculate your premiums.
In the following states, you will not see an increase in your car insurance premiums—no matter how many red light camera or speeding camera tickets you receive:
- New York.
- North Carolina.
The majority of states treat red light or speeding camera tickets in the same way as they would treat other non-moving violations—such as a parking ticket.
This can be confusing, because as a driver, you are moving when you get a red light camera ticket.
If a police officer pulls you over for running a red light, then the violation will appear on your driving record, as this is considered a more serious instance of a red light violation.
Having said all of this, it is ultimately up to the insurance company to decide whether they will increase your premiums for running a red light.
It is important to remember that most insurance companies will consider your overall driving history and whether or not you are a higher-risk driver, when they are deciding on your car insurance rate.
What about First Time Red Light Offenses?
In most cases, you will not see a car insurance rate increase if you have been caught running a red light for the first time.
This is because most insurance companies have a first-time forgiveness policy. This policy means that you will not see a rate increase for the first time that you are involved in an accident or receive a traffic violation ticket.
How Can You Avoid an Insurance Rate Increase after Running a Red Light?
Even if you do have traffic tickets on your driving record, there are still a few ways that you can try to prevent a rate increase.
Contest the ticket
If you have a genuine reason to contest the ticket, you can challenge it and try to get the conviction reversed. If the judge at your court agrees with your reasoning, you may have the points on your record reduced or removed entirely.
Take a defensive driving course
There are many states where you can take a defensive driving course to remove points from your license. Taking this course on a voluntary basis proves to the state that you are committed to improving your driving skills and becoming a better driver.
Wait a few years
In most cases, points on your driving record will not affect your insurance rate forever. Usually, your insurance company will excuse traffic offenses that are between three and five years old.
Shop around for better rates
Some insurance companies are more lenient than others when it comes to how they view points on your driving record. Be sure to shop around for cheaper car insurance quotes on the anniversary of your premium renewal.
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If you’ve run a red light recently and the authorities have loaded points onto your driving record, you may see an increase in your car insurance premiums when the time comes to renew your policy.
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