One of the most common complaints about drivers in London is when it comes to running red lights at intersections.
You’re sitting at a red light, the light for cross traffic turns from green to amber, and then red. You often see one or two cars still drive through the intersection, just as your light turns green. Drivers turning across opposing traffic often interrupt an advance turn light as well, and the trend continues when the traffic lights cycle.
Are those drivers colour blind, uncourteous, or has running red lights become a norm here in London?
Red light cameras will be installed at some of London’s most crash-prone intersections starting next year to catch and fine drivers who run reds. So, what are the rules and regulations when it comes to red lights?
AM980’s Traffic Specialist, Travis Dolynny, has teamed up with Sgt. Amanda Pfeffer, who runs the London Police Traffic Management Unit, to find out everything you need to know.
TD: The situation I just described happens so often in London, that it seems like it’s the norm – wait to see if anyone is going to run the red before proceeding through a green light. We all know green means go, what do amber lights mean?
AP: Good question Travis. An amber light means you must stop if it is safe to do so. There are instances where it would be unsafe to stop because you would have to break abruptly but if you can stop, you must.
TD: So, amber doesn’t mean you should hit the gas to get through before the red. Can a driver be charged for ignoring an amber light?
AP: Believe it or not there is an offence for failing to stop for an amber light and you can be charged. It is in the Highway Traffic Act under the same section as failing to stop for a red light. The penalty is a $180 fine including the surcharges.
TD: What are some of the challenges that police officers face when enforcing drivers who disrespect red lights?
AP: Intersection enforcement is unique because officers must deal with traffic that is moving in all directions. Navigating our busiest intersections in an effort to stop a violator and avoid a collision requires a great amount of concentration and skill. Failing to stop for a red light is one of the most dangerous forms of aggressive driving. Generally, a driver who engages in this dangerous driving activity is also a driver who is willing to speed and who will not usually stop at stop signs. These are the drivers that police enforcement needs to address.
TD: What is the fine for running a red light?
AP: The fine for running a red light is $325.
TD: Have you done any studies on red light violations in London?
AP: There have been many studies done on traffic signal violations throughout the province and the nation. The City of London also analyses all of our traffic and collision statistics to ensure that our intersections are as safe as they can possibly be.
TD: What can be done to curb this bad driving behaviour in London?
AP: Education and enforcement are key components to improving the driving behaviours we see on our roadways. Personal accountability is also essential. Be the change you want to see on our roadways! You never know when the next red light you run is going to cause a fatal collision.
TD: Thanks Sgt Pfeffer!
London City Council approved the installation of red light cameras back in January. Close to a dozen cameras will be installed at intersections across the Forrest City next year as part of a five-year program.
Owners of vehicles caught running a red will receive a $325 ticket, including a $60 victim surcharge.
Studies highlighted in a city staff report showed that right angle collisions, often more severe than other collisions, are reduced by 25 per cent with red light cameras. However, a 15 per cent increase in rear-end collisions is expected as driver behaviour is altered by the use of the cameras, typically with more abrupt stops.
The London Police Service wants to remind drivers that everyone wants to get to and from their destinations safely, and encourages everyone behind the wheel to be aware of those around them, and exercise courtesy.