Red Light and Stop Sign Tickets in Iowa

Read about Iowa’s red light and stop sign laws and the costs of a violation.

If you get caught running a stop sign or red light in Iowa, you’ll typically be looking at a fine. This article gives an overview of what the law prohibits and some of the specific consequences of a stop sign or red light ticket.

(Also, read about the options for dealing with a traffic citation.)

Making the Stop

At a red light (solid or flashing) or stop sign, motorists must make a complete stop prior to reaching the first of a clearly marked limit line, a crosswalk, or the intersection itself.

Right-On-Red Rule

Iowa law allows motorists to make a right turn after stopping at a red light unless there’s a sign indicating the turn is prohibited. However, before turning, the driver must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic passing through the intersection as directed by the signal.

Left-on-Red Rule

In Iowa, a motorist can make a left turn after stopping at a red light only from a one-way street onto another one-way street. Of course, drivers who make a left turn at a red light must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other vehicles lawfully using the intersection.

Meaning of a Yellow Light

In some states, it’s illegal to enter an intersection on a yellow light. However, in Iowa, a steady yellow light is just a warning that the light is about to turn red. In other words, you’re allowed to enter an intersection while the light is still yellow, just not after it has turned red.

Red Light Cameras

Iowa law permits the use of automated cameras at intersections to catch red light violators. However, localities that use red light cameras must post signs that inform drivers of the cameras at primary access roads to the locality and at the intersections where the cameras are in use.

(Read about how red light cameras work and fighting a red light camera ticket.)


Generally, a stop sign or red light violation will cost the driver about $195 in fines, surcharges, and court costs. For a violation that results in “serious injury” to another person, there’s an additional $500 fine and/or a license suspension of up to 90 days. And a driver who commits a red light or stop sign violation involving the death of another person is looking at an additional $1,000 fine and/or maximum 180-day license suspension. (Also, read about Iowa’s reckless driving and vehicular homicide penalties.)


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