Red Light and Stop Sign Tickets in Pennsylvania

Learn about Pennsylvania’s red light and stop sign laws and the consequences of a violation.

Pennsylvania drivers who run stop signs or stop lights will likely have to pay a fine. (Though it depends on how the person deals with the ticket.) Red light and stop sign violations also add demerit points to a motorist's driving record. This article gives an outline of what the law prohibits and some of the specific consequences of a stop sign or red light ticket.

Making the Stop

When motorists approach a red light (solid or flashing) or stop sign, they're required to come to a complete stop prior to the nearest of entering the crosswalk, reaching a marked stop line, or entering the intersection itself.

Right-On-Red Rule

As long as there's no sign specifically restricting it, Pennsylvania law permits drivers to make a right turn after stopping at a red light. However, drivers need to use caution and follow the normal right-of-way rules when making the turn.

Left-on-Red Rule

Some states don't allow left turns on red, regardless of the circumstances. However, Pennsylvania drivers are permitted to turn left after stopping at a red light from a one-way street onto another one-way street.

Meaning of a Yellow Light

In some states, it's illegal to enter an intersection if the light is yellow. In Pennsylvania, however, a solid yellow light is just a warning that the light is about to turn red. In other words, you can enter an intersection while the light is still yellow, just not after it has turned red.

Red Light Cameras

Pennsylvania law permits jurisdictions within the state to use automated cameras at intersections to catch red light violators. Generally, the vehicle owner is responsible for paying a red light camera citation. Owners can, however, establish a defense to a red light ticket by showing they were not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation.

Red light camera violations are treated differently than other traffic tickets. No points are assessed for a red light camera ticket, and the violation won't affect the person's driving record or insurance rates. The maximum fine for a camera ticket is $100.

Fines and Points for Violations

Stop sign and red light violations are summary offenses in Pennsylvania. The fine for a summary offense is $25. However, additional fees and costs can significantly increase the amount the convicted driver has to actually pay.

A stop sign or red light conviction will add three demerit points to a motorist's driving record. A driver who accumulates too many points faces license suspension.

Depending on the circumstances, a red light or stop sign violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And a driver who runs a red signal or stop sign and causes a fatality may face "homicide-by-vehicle" charges.

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