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Penalties for failing to stop at a red light or stop sign

Everyone who drives on Canadian roads has had to read through a provincial or territorial government issued driver’s handbook in order to get licensed. If you paid attention to the book, then you will know that failing to stop at a red light or stop sign are offences under the highway traffic act or motor vehicle act of your province or territory.

Most provinces and territories deal with these violations, and punish them, in similar ways. Here are a few examples of provincial regulations and penalties for the offences.

Failing to stop at a red light

Running a red light is considered dangerous behaviour and if you are caught doing it you are violating the highway traffic act. For example, in Ontario, s. 144 (18) of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act deals with running a red light. The section states:

“Every driver approaching a traffic control signal showing a circular red indication and facing the indication shall stop his or her vehicle and shall not proceed until a green indication is shown.”

If you are found in violation of this section, then you are looking at a fine of $325 and three demerit points next to other consequences, such as your car insurance going up in price.

Failing to stop at a stop sign

In British Columbia, driving violations are dealt with under the Motor Vehicle Act.

S.186 of the Act states that a driver must stop where there is a stop sign at an intersection. Remember, this includes residential intersections, too. The section is quite specific in that it explains that where there is a marked stop line at the intersection, you have to stop at the marked line.

The penalty for failing to stop at a stop sign is a $167 fine and three driver penalty points.

It’s also important to remember while these violations are mainly dealt with under provincial or territorial statute, if this violation leads to bodily injury or death, then it’s very likely that criminal charges will be added under the Criminal Code of Canada. Possible charges could be dangerous operation of a motor vehicle or criminal negligence, depending on the injuries or fatalities caused.

Should you have been criminally charged for these offences, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible.

Read more:

Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Highway Traffic Act Ontario

Motor Vehicle Act British Columbia

Fines and Points for B.C. Traffic Offences

S. 249 Criminal Code of Canada