Red light camera tickets

12 minute read Published on Oct 7, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

Red traffic light

There are many types of tickets that you can get while driving, from speeding tickets to careless driving tickets. One other type of ticket you can get is a red light camera ticket. Although red light camera tickets are nothing new, they are worth discussing, as many drivers do not understand how they work or how much they can be fined for getting one. Continue reading to find out more about red light camera tickets in Ontario.

Red light camera tickets in Ontario

Running a red light camera system is a driving infraction - and a dangerous one, at that. Running a red can result in an accident, and accidents affect car insurance rates. Plus, even the most common car accidents can have serious consequences, including bodily injury and even death. For this reason, you can receive a ticket for failing to stop at a red light. Although this type of ticket can be issued by a law enforcement officer in person, it can also be issued via a red light camera:

The history of red light cameras in Ontario

Red light cameras are nothing new, especially in Ontario. In fact, the first red light cameras came into use back in 1998. This was after the Government of Ontario passed Bill 102, also known as the Red Light Cameras Pilot Projects Act. This bill was followed by legislation passed in 2004 that opened up the use of red light cameras across the province.

Where are red light cameras used in Ontario?

Nowadays, there are over 300 red light cameras in operation throughout Ontario. A few of the municipalities in Ontario where you will find red light cameras include:

  • Toronto
  • Ottawa
  • Brampton
  • Mississauga
  • Hamilton
  • London
  • Kitchener
  • Sudbury

That said, several other municipalities are considering adopting them, too. There are also many other cities and districts across Canada that use red light cameras.

What is the purpose of red light cameras?

The purpose of red light cameras is to prevent drivers from running red lights, as this is a form of aggressive driving that can be extremely dangerous and increase your odds of getting into an accident. Considering intersections already put drivers at greater risk of getting into accidents, it is especially important that motorists are cautious when approaching them and do not increase their risk by driving through a red light. For more safe driving tips, contact BrokerLink.

How are red light cameras triggered?

Red light cameras work as follows: they contain sensors underneath each traffic lane. When a car travels over the stop line after the light has turned red, the camera will be triggered. When the camera is triggered, it will take a photo of the vehicle's rear licence plate in question. Please note that red light cameras in Ontario are only activated when a car enters the intersection after the light turns red, not when the light is still yellow.

You will be issued a ticket if you run a red light and the camera catches you. You will receive the ticket in the mail. The Ministry of Transportation in Ontario will mail the ticket to the address linked to the registered owner of the vehicle, which they will find by searching the licence plate number in their system.

Red light camera ticket fines

You can be issued a fine since driving through a red light is a driving infraction. When you are caught via a red light camera, there is a standard fine that drivers receive in Ontario and it is $325. This has been the fine for red light camera tickets since January 1, 2010. Whether you run a red in Toronto, London, or Sudbury, you will receive the same fine of $325.

The owner of the vehicle is required to pay the fine. Similar to speed camera tickets, since the camera is unable to capture the driver’s identity, the ticket is issued to the registered owner of the car according to the licence plate number.

Your fine will come in the mail and as the owner, you are legally required to pay it, whether you were driving the car when it was photographed or not. The letter you receive in the mail will include information on how to pay the fine.

Most red light camera tickets can be paid online. However, you may also have the option to pay in person or by mail.

Red light camera tickets and demerit points

Red light camera tickets, as with speed camera tickets, are unique in that they do not result in demerit points. While you will still be subject to the $325 fine, you will not incur any demerit points. This is because these types of tickets are issued to the vehicle owner rather than the driver. Thus, it would be unfair to issue demerit points when the camera cannot confirm who was driving the car at the time of the infraction.

Fighting a red light camera ticket in Ontario

As with any other type of ticket in Ontario, drivers have the right to fight red light camera tickets. However, it is very hard to win and have your ticket overturned. That said, disputing your ticket could result in a smaller fine. If you are considering fighting your ticket, you may wish to consult with a legal professional who can give you a better idea of what type of evidence you will need to provide in order to have your ticket overturned and whether it’s worth the hassle and cost of fighting the ticket.

Red light camera tickets and insurance rates

The good news is that red light camera tickets do not affect insurance rates, the same way that speed camera tickets do not affect insurance. As mentioned above, since red light cameras cannot confirm or identify the driver of the vehicle, it would be unfair for demerit points to be issued or for insurance rates to be impacted.

Red light camera tickets do not end up on your driving record, which is why an insurance agent couldn’t raise your premium even if they wanted to. They would have no way of knowing that you received such a ticket. Thus, if you are issued a red light camera ticket, you can rest easy knowing that your insurance rates won’t increase as a result of this.

It is worth noting that accidents affect car insurance rates in Ontario. So, if you ran a red light and this resulted in a car accident, your premium would likely go up as a result. If you are found to be at fault for the accident, which you likely would be if you ran a red light in an intersection, it will end up on your driving record. Most accidents stay on driving records for a period of six years, which means you would likely experience higher insurance rates for at least six years.

Unless your policy features accident forgiveness coverage and this was your first at-fault accident, there is no way around it: you are going to have to pay a higher premium. Remember that depending on the circumstances of the collision, you have to report the car accident in Ontario.

How to avoid red light camera tickets

Getting a red light camera ticket will cost you. In Ontario, it will cost you $325, to be exact. If you get into an accident due to running a red light, your mistake could be even more costly. Thus, it is imperative that you take every possible precaution to avoid such a ticket. Below are a few tips to help you avoid getting a red light camera ticket in Ontario:

Research where red light cameras are located in your municipality

First, to reduce the odds of being issued a red light camera ticket, try to locate the different red light cameras in your municipality. Knowing which intersections have these cameras will encourage you to take extra caution when approaching them.

Check for red light camera warning signs

Many municipalities that use red light cameras have road signs warning drivers of an upcoming red light camera. Pay close attention to these and drive extra cautiously when you see them.

Slow down at intersections

Intersections are one of the most common places that car accidents occur. Whether you want to avoid a red light camera ticket or simply want to keep yourself safe, it’s good practice to slow down when approaching intersections. Even if the light is green, take extra care as there could be turning vehicles or pedestrians that pop up.

Do not speed up on a yellow light

If you see a yellow light ahead, do not speed up. Instead, slow down, as the yellow light is telling you to do, and come to a safe stop prior to the light turning red. Remember that red light cameras are only triggered when a car enters the intersection after the light has turned red, so seeing a yellow and still trying to go through the intersection could spell trouble.

Only let people you trust borrow your car

Since red light camera tickets are issued to vehicle owners rather than individual drivers, you could end up paying a fine if a friend is driving your car and runs a red light. Thus, be sure to only lend your car to people you trust, who you know exhibit safe and defensive driving skills on a regular basis.

How to lower your car insurance rates after an accident

Red light camera tickets do not affect car insurance rates but they can lead to accidents, and accidents can impact premiums. So if you recently got into a car accident, the first step is to report the car accident. From there, you will need to inform your insurance company.

If the accident was your fault, your insurance premium will likely go up. Thankfully, there are ways that you can minimize how much you pay for auto insurance, even after getting into an accident:

Get help from a BrokerLink insurance broker

An insurance broker is your best bet if you want to save money on car insurance following an accident. A BrokerLink insurance advisor can explain all the different strategies and discounts that you can employ or become eligible for if you want to keep insurance costs down. They can also obtain and compare quotes for you every time your policy is up for renewal to ensure you never overpay for car insurance.

Sign up for a defensive driving program

Signing up for a defensive driving program is another way to reduce how much you pay for car insurance. As long as the program is recognized in your province, you can qualify for a car insurance discount by completing this type of program.

Why? These types of driver’s education courses usually make for safer, more responsible drivers. Insurance companies know this and will reduce your rates accordingly because they believe you will be less likely to get into an accident or a subsequent accident if you were already involved in one.

Spend less time behind the wheel

Another way to save money on car insurance is to cut down on how much time you spend behind the wheel. The less time you’re on the road, the less likely you are to get into a car accident. For this reason, many insurance companies offer cheaper rates to occasional drivers.

This is known as low mileage car insurance. Keep in mind that you usually need to drive below a certain number of kilometres each year in order to qualify for this type of discount. However, if you do, you can pay a lot less for your policy.

Buy multiple car insurance policies or bundle home and auto policies

Bundling insurance policies or buying more than one car insurance policy at the same time are two more money-saving tips. Insurance companies like to reward those who purchase more than one product from them.

So whether you have two cars in your household that you need insurance for or you want to buy home insurance or recreational vehicle insurance on top of your car insurance, buy them together and you could save big.

Install winter tires on your car

Installing winter tires is one final way to reduce how much you pay for car insurance, whether you just got into an accident or not. Snow tires make driving during the winter safe, and as such, insurance companies will reward you by offering you a car insurance discount.

Not that winter tire discounts are mandatory in Ontario if customers meet the necessary conditions. So if you plan to install winter tires on your car this winter, speak to your insurance broker in advance.

Reach out to BrokerLink to learn more about red light camera tickets

Still have questions about red light camera tickets in Ontario? You’re in the right place. A BrokerLink insurance advisor can help you understand what these tickets are, how they are issued, and what impact they have on demerit points and Toronto car insurance rates.

A BrokerLink broker can also provide you with a free insurance quote. All you have to do is get in touch over the phone, in person, or on our website, and you can receive an accurate car insurance quote in minutes. Keep in mind that insurance brokers can help you with all aspects of the car insurance-buying process.

We can request quotes on your behalf, compare them, and unlock discounts for you to ensure you get the most competitive rate possible. We can also explain how mandatory coverage works, what other types of protection might be worthwhile, how to renew your car insurance policy, how to add a driver to your policy, and even help you switch insurance providers down the line. To begin your auto insurance journey today, contact BrokerLink.

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FAQs about red light camera tickets

What does 'running a red' mean?

Running a red is the act of driving through an intersection after the light has turned red. Cars are only supposed to drive through intersections when the light is green. Although you may also be able to drive through an intersection on a yellow light, even if it is not recommended, driving through an intersection on a red light (i.e. running a red light) is an infraction that can result in a ticket.

Can I enter an intersection on a yellow light?

Although it is usually safest to slow down and come to a complete stop on a yellow light, you can pass through an intersection on a yellow light without incurring a ticket. However, if you cannot safely stop at an intersection and so long as the light is still yellow after you’ve entered the intersection, you are safe from receiving a fine.

Do red light cameras take photos of every car that enters the intersection?

No. Red light cameras in Ontario are only designed to go off when a car enters the intersection after the light has turned red. They do not take photos of every car that drives through an intersection. The camera is only triggered when someone drives through a red light.

Who looks at the photos captured by the red light cameras?

Law enforcement officers are responsible for reviewing the photos taken by the red light camera, looking up the name and address of the registered vehicle owner using the licence plate number captured in the photo, and issuing the ticket to the owner.

How can you check the status of a red light camera ticket online in Ontario?

You can check the status of a red light camera ticket in Ontario by visiting the website or visiting the Provincial Offenses Act website and entering your ticket number in the services portal. Please note that you will need to enter the location code and offence number to check the status of your ticket online. You can also pay for your ticket online, the instructions for which will be provided in the letter you receive in the mail.

What penalty will I receive if I don’t pay my red light camera ticket in Ontario?

If you do not pay your red light camera ticket, you may not be able to renew your licence plate or driver’s licence when they are up for renewal. Failure to renew these would make it illegal to drive in Ontario. You could also lose your car insurance policy if you lost your licence, which again, would prevent you from being able to drive. Thus, you will need to pay your red light camera ticket fine, either at the time it is issued or the next time your driver’s licence or licence plate needs to be renewed. If you wish to dispute the ticket, you may do so.

What happens if I lose my red light camera ticket?

If you lose the red light camera ticket issued to you in the mail, you can visit a courthouse near you or visit the website and search for outstanding tickets using your driver’s licence number.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.