Brits ignore red lights with convictions up 5,000 in 2015

  • A523 The Silk Road in Macclesfield, A610 Nuthall Island in Nottingham and A167 Durham Road in Gateshead are named as the UK’s red light hot spots — with thousands of motorists caught running red lights in these locations last year
  • Over 67,000 motorists were given points for failing to stop at traffic lights last year although this is the tip of the iceberg with just a minority of lights having a camera
  • One in four (9.3 million) motorists admit to running a red light in the past year alone

Jumping red lights is becoming a common occurrence with the latest figures showing that traffic cameras are catching around 184 drivers every day i.

According to Freedom of Information data obtained by esure car insurance, A523 The Silk Road in Macclesfield, Cheshire, A610 Nuthall Island (East) in Nottingham and A167 Durham Road (South) in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear have been identified as Britain’s real red light areas — with more drivers caught running red lights than anywhere else in the UK.

A growing number of motorists are driving through red lights with UK police forces reporting a 8% increase in the number of offences in the past year — equivalent to an additional 5,023 motorists on record in 2015 when compared to figures from the year beforeii .

However, these figures are just the tip of the iceberg, as they only reflect those offences documented by 33 Police forces, plus only the minority of red lights have a camera. In fact, as many as one in four (24%) motorists admit to having driven through a red light in the past 12 months — equivalent to 9.3 millioniii motorists.

Busier lives and congested roads are the driving forces behind this trend. The number of cars in the UK has risen by 10 million over the past two decades, from 21 million in 1995 to 31 million in 2015iv; and one in eight (13%) motorists say that the increase in congestion means they are now more likely to drive through red lights.

Of those who have run a red light in the past 12 months, more than one in 10 (11%) did so because they were in a rush, while one in 20 (6%) felt pressure from the car behind and a similar proportion (5%) were frustrated at having been stuck in traffic for a long time.

The maximum penalty for running a red light is a fine of £1,000 and three penalty points, but drivers are usually given a Fixed Penalty Notice, which is a fine of £100 and three penalty points. Based on the number of offences recorded by Police forces in 2015 £6.7million was paid out in fines and 201,705 penalty points were given out collectivelyv.

Jon Wilshire, Chief Underwriting Officer of esure said: “The rise in drivers running red lights is down to people’s lifestyles – they’re busy and in a rush and just want to sneak through the red light and get to where they need to be. However, running a red light is not a very bright thing to do.

Aside from the obvious danger and increased chance of ending up in an accident, you could get points on your licence, which will affect the cost of your insurance plus you could be out of pocket and fined £1,000. The average set of lights change every couple of minutes so it’s not long to keep yourself and fellow motorists safe.”


Table 1: Top 20 roads with the highest numbers of motorists caught for running a red light last year, based on FOI responses

Table 2: Most common reasons motorists have driven through a red light


For more information:

Emma Banks,, 01737 235107 / 07894 158605

Notes to editors:

Research was conducted by Opinium among 1,579 UK motorists (18+) in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Research was carried out from 5 April to 9 April 2016.

esure also issued a Freedom of Information request to all UK Police constabularies in the UK in March 2016. 73% (33 forces) had replied with data at the point of collation. The FOI request asked how many drivers they have caught running red lights per year from 2011 to 2016 and the names of the roads and junctions where the highest number of drivers were caught doing this.

esure is an efficient personal lines insurance business. Founded in 2000 by Chairman, Peter Wood, Britain’s foremost insurance entrepreneur, the company is a leading provider of car and home insurance.


i FOI data. 67,235 motorists caught running a red light in 2015 (sum of responses received). 67235/365= 184 a day.

ii FOI data. Based on the responses we received, 67,235 motorists were caught running a red light in 2015 — compared to 62,212 in 2014.

iii Source: ICM Unlimited. There were 38,669,000 motorists in the UK in February 2016. 24% of this is 9,280,560.

iv Source: According to vehicle data from The Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT).

v Source: FOI data. 67,235 motorists caught running a red light in 2015. Assuming they all received an FPN, with £100 fine and 3 penalty points, this equates to £6.7 million in fines (67,235 x 100) and 201,705 penalty points (67,235 x 3).