Injust red light camera fine

No John, those arrows pointing to the right on the road aren’t a suggestion. They are the law. Are you really this ignorant on how traffic laws work?

She would have been cited for a moving violation.

My question is whether it is a red light offence or if it is some other kind of offence if you are in the right hand lane and go when the right hand lane light is green. If it isn’t a red light offence perhaps the fine would have been less.

I don’t understand what you’re arguing for. She was in a turn-only lane controlled by a traffic light that was red. There is no question that she committed a red light offense. The question of “had the light been green, what kind of offense would it have been?” doesn’t apply. Because she committed a red light offense.

She needs to pay more attention to her driving.

Yeah, most lousy car drivers assume “no one’s safety is at risk.” Just like the guy who decided to jump into the (US) right turn lane from a through lane because his GPS told him to, and “no one’s safety was at risk.” Except for mine, since I was on my motorcycle and occupying the right turn lane at the time.

Your wife needs to keep her head out of her ass while piloting 1.5 tons of metal down public roads. She entered the intersection on a red light; it doesn’t matter whether she made the turn or carried on straight through.

In fact, in Michigan she could have been popped for two offenses, failure to stop for traffic signal and improper lane use.

I’m trying to wrap my mind around the idea that you follow the light for the direction you want to go rather than the lane you happen to be in. And failing.

Man. A bunch of wannabe traffic cop hardasses in this thread or something.

Looks like a pretty innocuous traffic offense to me and certainly nothing on par with actually running a red light. If it is a clear (and it looks very clear in the photos), merging into the left go-straight lane is totally safe.

I can’t imagine there’s a downside to going to court and arguing for (at least) a reduction in the fine). At worst it’s time one has to take off from work.

Side note: Ohio recently made red light cameras illegal unless police station an officer at every one of them to provide human backup (naturally, this kills the idea).* Much as I hated the things, there was a need for one at an intersection I travel through just before arriving at work, where loonies used to bust through the red light at 50-60 mph or more. Interestingly, in the few months since the camera was removed, I haven’t seen anyone do this. There seems to be a residual inhibitory effect.

*politicians around the state are weeping at the loss of payments and extracurricular benefits from the red light camera company(ies).

Except for the fact that she did in fact run a red light. The bit where she ran a red light made it exactly on a par with actually running a red light.

Over here if you try to weasel out of a fine like that the judge will often just increase it and add extra sanctions for wasting the courts time. If you are going to plead not guilty you better have a good reason!

It’s entirely plausible to me that a law might define what she did as running a red light, or that it might not. You’d have to look at what your state’s law says about running red lights and what arrows actually mean legally.

Red light cameras are dead, but the law may have caused a boom in handheld speed cameras. The local cops just sit on a bridge over an Interstate and record dozens of violations an hour, which is very much worth the salary.

Sorry to see this happen to you guys - camera fines hurt. I just wanted to drop in and say that I do agree that one should just take the right turn then safely reroute to the original direction of travel. I do it all the time, daily in fact.

Plenty of people make their decisions based on what you are presenting as your expected route of travel. Another driver could choose to enter the roadway on the assumption that the right turn would be completed. Though that action may ultimately be a wrong choice, it would be understandable.

So I strongly believe that when you get stuck in the wrong lane just follow it through. A minute or two beats an accident or fine any day.



I know you want to defend your wife, John, but she ran a red light. IMHO, that would also be improper lane use. Seems pretty clear.

Yeah, sorry John. I understand why you are defensive about this, you are only human but I think you have to suck this up.

The lights apply to the lanes. She went over the line in her lane while the light was red. That is absolutely clear from your description and from the photos. I can’t see any defence you can make that won’t just antagonise the judge or magistrate.

The two allowable options to me when in the wrong lane would be:
a) take the right turn (when the light changes), then u-turn
b) slow down before the red, indicate left, change lanes if nothing is coming, then go straight over.

option b) may still get you a slap on the wrist if your local jurisdiction says those solid lines cannot be crossed but probably less than the red light offence.

From a pure safety point you never want to do something that other drivers are not expecting. Driving straight on from that lane was exactly the kind of unexpected action that increases the likelihood of accidents. Thankfully no-one was hurt, no damage done and the money is a cheap price to pay for a learning experience.

Please go and dispute this in court and let us know how that turns out.
Please use all of the arguments that you have used in this thread.
If you could work out a way to video tape the court proceedings and post it online for all of us to watch, that would be the best.
Please let us know your course of action.

But it’s not.

In just about every Western jurisdiction i’ve ever driven (multiple countries, multiple continents), the rules of the road require you to keep your lanes in an intersection. That is, even though the intersection itself does not contain marked lanes, you are required to exit the intersection in an equivalent lane to the one in which you entered the intersection.

I don’t know what Australian state you’re in, but the New South Wales traffic rules on Intersections and Turning require that:

That’s pretty much the rule everywhere.

But as others have pointed out, the turning arrow traffic lights are explicitly and only for the turning arrow lanes. If you’re in the turning arrow lanes when you arrive at the intersection, you are supposed to obey the turning arrow traffic light. The fact that you then chose to disobey a different road rule and change lanes in the intersection does not absolve you from obeying the lights.

Hell, if they wanted to be real assholes, they probably could have sent her a ticket for running a red light and an improper lane change within an intersection.

Maybe if she had begun her process of concentration before arriving at the traffic light, she never would have found herself in this situation to begin with.

Exactly. By JohnClay’s logic, his wife could have decided to make a right turn from the left-hand lane. After all, as long as she wanted to actually turn right, what does it matter which lane she’s in.

I’ve been driving on roads all over the world for almost 30 years. I’ve been in hundreds of situations at a red light, waiting to turn across traffic, where it was completely clear and i could easily have made the turn with no danger at all. Hell, i’ve been in situations where i was waiting to go straight through, and there was no traffic at all coming from either direction on the cross street. It would have been completely safe to ignore the light.

By your logic, road rules are suggestions that can be justifiably ignored when you think it’s “clear” and “totally safe.”

Sorry, but if you’re not paying enough attention even to know that you’re in a turning lane at a major intersection, then i don’t really trust you to make a split-second decision about whether it’s safe to change lanes in the middle of a major intersection, into a lane possibly occupied by someone who is actually there legally.

That is only because she wasn’t paying attention to the clearly marked lane markers. It may very well have been more dangerous or impossible to stop in time by the time she realized she was in the wrong lane. Going forward may have been the better choice. It is still a violation and it was caused by her inattention to the roadway markings.

It’s only obvious if you have common sense. Everyone finds themselves in the wrong lane from time to time. You need to have good judgement to know you are beyond the point of no return and just go with the traffic pattern and double back to where you need to go. You ever seen anyone miss their exit on the highway and decide to back up until they get there? You think that is a good idea?

Do you really think it is a good idea to leave traffic laws up to the eye of the beholder? The only things keeping multi-ton death machines from crashing into each other are painted lines, colored lights and all of us agreeing to what those marks and signals mean. It can’t be left to the individual’s judgement as to what is safe or not since most people drive like idiots to begin with.

No one is equating it with murder or even reckless driving. People are just pointing out it is an obvious violation and in no way “injust” (who uses injust?).


This is not the worst traffic violation possible. I don’t think your wife is a bad person (although she is possibly someone who needs to pay more attention when driving). Given the evidence of the pictures, it also doesn’t really seem like there was any great danger to other road users from her actions.

But to argue that the ticket violates the principles of justice is silly. The ticket is perfectly appropriate.

I break road rules at times. Like everyone else in Southern California (and i do mean just about everyone else), i drive over the speed limit on the freeways. My typical speed on my way to work is 73-75 miles per hour, and i’m just going with the flow of traffic.

My own neighborhood has a huge number of all-way stop signs. Occasionally, if there are no other cars around, i roll the stop a little bit, not quite coming to a complete halt. I’m sure there are other things i do wrong that i can’t think of right now.

I have not received a traffic ticket in over 25 years. I’ve never had one in the United States. But if and when the day comes, i like to think that, even if i’m annoyed or frustrated by it, i’ll man up and say, “You know what? I broke the traffic rules. I’m just going to suck it up, pay the ticket, and move on.”

Yes, mhendo. If you try to keep below speed limits on the freeways, you’ll get run off the road! By me. Heh. Not really, but you’ll get me very VERY steamed.

Agree with just about everybody here. Suck it up. It was a red light violation.

P.S. Isn’t what the traffic officer suggesting something like the “Michigan left?” I was visiting a friend near Detroit a few years ago, and it was kinda weird getting used to it while I was driving around.

Or she was lucky. I was in a right turn only lane when a woman who was sight seeing and in the straight ahead lane decided at the last minute to turn right. (American right, so usually safer than Australian right.) Boom - right into me. She of course was too busy looking around to know what was going on around her.
So I’m glad the situation in question was just a ticket and not an accident - it could have been worse.

This. Around here there are left turn lanes and freeway entrance ramps that get backed up a long way. When they are especially bad there are often some clowns who miss the end of the line and then decide they really need to turn without going around - and so sit in a through lane with their blinker on expecting someone to let them in instead of doing the very reasonable thing you suggest.
We all make mistakes sometimes - but better to take the consequences than the risk.

People who won’t stand for unjustice, that’s who!