New data shows that motorists in Scotland run red lights the most, with drivers in Glasgow disregarding red traffic lights more than anywhere else in Britain.

Vehicle leasing broker, Select Car Leasing, uncovered the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) figures using the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and found that, since April 2016, Glasgow prosecuted 13,373 drivers for ignoring traffic lights—over 10% of the recorded offences in England, Wales and Scotland.

Showing Glasgow in a bad light

Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, came second in the list with 8,022 prosecutions in the last four years, while Nottingham came third, recording 5,775 prosecutions up to October 2019.

Of the remaining 20 worst offending postcode areas since 2016, Bristol was next, with 5,048 prosecutions, followed by Cardiff (4,942), Sheffield (2,925), Leicester (2,781), Motherwell (2,596), and Liverpool (2,520). Next, was the London South Western SW postcode area (2,157), followed by Southend-on-Sea (2,305), Manchester (2,239), the London South Eastern SE postcode area (2,157), Greater London (2,137), Birmingham (1,851), Doncaster (1,729), Brighton (1,707), and the Essex CM postcode area (including Billericay, Braintree, Chelmsford, and Stansted) with 1,704 prosecutions. North London was next, with 1,659 offences, then Kilmarnock with 1,611.

The 10 least offending areas since 2016 were those with fewer vehicles on the road, so it’s no surprise Lerwick in the Shetlands had the fewest red light offences, with just 20 offences, followed by The Outer Hebrides in second place with only 34 prosecutions.

The Western Central WC postcode area was next, with 37 offences, followed by the London’s Eastern Central EC postcode area (46), Far North Scotland (56), Llandrindod Wells (61), Dorchester (116), Harrogate (118), Halifax (132), and Blackpool (134).

If you run a red light, you’ll receive a ‘TS10’ notice on your driving licence for ‘failing to comply with traffic light signals’. This stays on your record for four years. The number of TS10 endorsements for traffic light offences since 2016 was 127,721, but overall, these offences are declining, with 39,440 in 2016, 33,695 in 2017, and 33,147 in 2018.

The Department for Transport (DfT) reported 160,597 casualties from road traffic incidents in 2018, with around 75,095 of those taking place at junctions, many of which were traffic light-controlled.

Amber gambler

Mark Tongue, Owner and Company Director of Select Car Leasing, said:

‘Traffic lights are there for a reason and jumping them when they are on red is not only an offence, it is also highly dangerous.

‘Glasgow has around 50 speed and red-light cameras, a relatively high figure compared with other cities, which may explain why it is the red-light jumping capital.

‘But driving habits and behaviours also play a significant part and motorists can hardly blame a camera if they get caught ploughing through traffic when they should be coming to a standstill.

‘Few motorists enjoy being stuck at lights, not least at night when there is little other traffic around and you’re in a rush.

‘But the law is there to be followed and not broken.

‘By jumping a red traffic light or being a so-called ‘amber gambler’, drivers are creating a very real threat of death to other road users and pedestrians.

‘If caught, they also face being handed three penalty points, which in some instances may lead to a driving ban under the totting-up procedure, and a fine.’

Paying the penalty

Traffic light offences are most often dealt with by a Fixed Penalty of 3 points and a £100 fine, but if you don’t respond to the penalty notice or if you give incorrect details of the driver, you risk a fine of £1,000 and six penalty points. If you already have points on your driving licence, a Fixed Penalty may mean you lose your licence.

In England and Wales, if you’re caught by a traffic signal camera and activation of the camera was within less than three seconds of the light turning red, the police may offer you a place on a Traffic Signal Course as an alternative punishment, though Scotland doesn’t yet offer this option.

If you complete a safety awareness course, don’t expect reduced insurance premiums because, depending on the insurance company, your premiums could increase—if you get any penalty points, they will increase.

And, if you cross the white line at traffic lights to make way for emergency vehicles, you won’t be immune from prosecution from a traffic signal camera. And, while many of us will risk punishment to help an emergency vehicle to get to an incident, you’re still liable for any offences you commit by moving across the solid white line; something all emergency personnel know.

How well do drivers obey traffic lights where you live? Do the findings prove more red-light offences happen in Glasgow, or do their police prioritise these offences more than others? Have you been punished for running a red or amber light? Tell us in the comments.

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