If you get caught running a stop sign or red light in Indiana, you’ll typically be looking at a fine and points on your driving record. This article gives an overview of what the law prohibits and some of the specific consequences of a stop sign or red light violation.
(Also, read about the options for dealing with a traffic citation.)
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.
Indiana 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, drivers must use caution and follow right-of-way rules when making a right on red.
In Indiana, 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 Indiana, 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 already turned red.
Unlike a number of other states, Indiana doesn’t use automated cameras at intersections to catch red light violators.
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 a signal to switch. In other words, the light doesn’t know they’re sitting there waiting. So, Indiana law permits motorcyclists and bicyclists to proceed through a red light:
Generally, a person who admits a violation (either by mailing a payment or appearing in court) is looking at a maximum $35.50 fine. However, if you contest a violation and lose, the maximum fine amount depends on your record. If it’s your first violation within five years, the maximum fine is $35.50. But if you have one prior violation within the past five years, the maximum is $250.50. And if you‘ve been convicted of two or more violations within the past five years, you can be fined up to $500.
A stop sign or light violation will also add four demerit points to a motorist’s driving record. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension. However, by completing a driver safety program, a driver can get a four-point credit.
Depending on the circumstances, running a red light or stop sign could also result in a reckless driving conviction. And when one of these offenses involves the death of another person, vehicular manslaughter charges are a possibility.