If you get caught running a stop sign or red light in Illinois, you'll typically be looking at a fine and points on your driving record. (Depending on the circumstances, you may have other options for dealing with your ticket.) This article gives an overview of what the law prohibits and some of the specific consequences of a stop sign or red light violation.
At a red light (solid or flashing) or stop sign, motorists must make a complete stop prior to reaching a clearly marked stop line or entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. And if there is no stop line or crosswalk, the driver needs to stop before entering the intersection itself.
Illinois law allows motorists to make a right turn after stopping at a red light, so long as there's no sign prohibiting it. But drivers must use caution and follow right-of-way rules when making a right on red.
In Illinois, a motorist can do a left turn after stopping at a red light only from a one-way street onto another one-way street. Of course, motorists need to follow the normal right-of-way rules and proceed with caution when making the turn.
In some states, it's illegal to enter an intersection on a yellow light. However, in Illinois, 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.
Some jurisdictions in Illinois use automated cameras at intersections to detect red-light violators. However, state law imposes certain requirements on red-light cameras. Jurisdictions that use cameras must:
And—unless a pedestrian or bicycle is present—a red light camera ticket can't be issued for violations where the driver comes to a complete stop prior to entering the intersection, even though the driver may have passed the stop line or entered the crosswalk. So, these restrictions may present a good defense to certain drivers.
Some signals use technologies that detect when cars are stopped at the light. Signals that use these technologies will switch from red to green only when a vehicle is detected. Motorcycles and bicycles are sometimes too small or light to trigger the signal to switch. In other words, the light doesn't know they're sitting there waiting. When this happens, Illinois law permits persons using one of these modes of transportation (in municipalities with less than two million people) to proceed through the red light. However, before doing so, the motorist must stop for at least 120 seconds and yield the right of way to other cars passing through the intersection.
Typically, the fine for a stop sign or red light violation in Illinois is $120. (Red light camera tickets are $100.) The conviction will also add 20 demerit points to the motorist's driving record. However, eligible drivers can keep the conviction off their record by completing traffic school.
Depending on the circumstances, a red light or stop sign violation could also result in a reckless driving conviction. And for violations involving the death of another person, reckless homicide charges are possible.