Red Light and Stop Sign Tickets in Texas

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

Texas drivers who run stop signs or stop lights will likely have to pay a fine. A red light or stop sign violation will also add demerit points to a motorist’s driving record. This article gives an overview of what the law prohibits and some of the consequences of a getting stop sign or red light citation.

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

Making the Stop

Motorists approaching a stop sign or a signal exhibiting a red light (solid or flashing) must come to a complete stop prior to the nearest of entering the crosswalk, reaching a clearly marked stop line, or entering the intersection itself.

Right-On-Red Rule

As long as there’s no sign specifically restricting it, Texas 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, Texas drivers are permitted to turn left after stopping at a red light at the intersection of two one-way streets. In other words, a motorist can make a left on red 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 Texas, however, a solid yellow light is just a warning that the signal 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

Texas law permits jurisdictions within the state to use automated cameras at intersections to catch red light violators. However, signs that inform drivers red light cameras are in use must be posted at intersections equipped with the cameras.

A notice of the red light camera violation will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle. The notice should include the date, time, and location of violation and copies of the photographs showing the car running the light. Generally, the vehicle owner is responsible for paying the citation.

A red light camera ticket is a civil offense—meaning it shouldn’t affect a motorist’s driving record or insurance rates. The maximum penalty for a red light camera citation is $75.

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

Fines and Points for Violations

Stop sign and red light violation fines vary depending on the circumstances, including where you received the ticket. But generally, fines range from about $150 to $275.

Generally, a stop sign or red light conviction will add two demerit points to a motorist’s driving record. A driver who accumulates too many could face having to pay surcharges. However, eligible drivers can avoid the points that normally result from a violation by completing a defensive driving course.

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 vehicular homicide or manslaughter charges.

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