1. Home
  2. Car insurance
  3. Car insurance guides
  4. Traffic light cameras: how they work

Traffic light cameras: how they work

Confused.com C icon
Our expert panel review all content. Learn more about our editorial standards and how we operate.


Traffic light cameras or red light cameras are installed at traffic lights on major junctions. They can snap any driver running a red light.


They're activated when the lights turn red and use sensors to detect - and then photograph - any vehicles that pass through the junction during that time.

Red light cameras are also used to monitor the flow of traffic on motorways, busy roads and at major junctions.

Not all traffic lights have red light cameras.

On a practical level it wouldn’t be cost-effective to fix red light cameras onto every traffic light, considering the cost of implementing and operating them.

But don’t be tempted to chance running a red light.

If you get caught by a red light camera you should get a fine of £100 and three points on your licence.

You may also be asked to go on an educational course if you’re caught running a red light.

When you renew your car insurance, you're asked about unspent driving convictions. If you have points on your licence from running a red light your car insurance could be more expensive.

If you live in Wales, you can find the traffic light cameras in your area by visiting GoSafe. Scroll to the bottom of the page to use the location search map.

If you live in any other part of the UK, you can find red light cameras in your area at Photoenforced.com.

If a red-light camera has captured you, you will receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) within 14 days. The NIP will request the registered owner of the vehicle to identify the driver at the time of the offence, who must complete and return the form within 28 days.

After that, you will be required to pay a fixed penalty fine. However, if you believe that an error has been made, you have the right to challenge the fine by filing an appeal.

In some cases, you may be able to successfully challenge a red-light camera ticket. These include:

  • Providing evidence that you did not pass through the red light
  • Providing evidence of a defect in the lights or related signage
  • Having a dash cam installed in your vehicle that can prove the red-light camera was triggered falsely.

Anyone can access traffic camera images on Traffic England’s website.

But remember acceptance is not guaranteed, and the ticket may still be upheld. 

Traffic cameras don't always flash. Most use an infrared flash, which is not visible to the driver.

Compare car insurance quotes

Share this article

Car insurance guides