Received $448 Red Light Camera Penalty (NSW)

Hi guys,

I received fine for jumping red light. Here are the pics. The grey vehicle turning left is mine. Here are the sequence of events:

  • I turned left when the lights were still yellow.
  • While turning left, realised that the vehicle in front of me is too close to comfort and braked and slowed down my vehicle.
  • The lights turned red when I still had not completed my turn. From the images provided, looks like the rear tyres of my vehicle triggered the camera.

I was under the impression that if your front tyres cross the stop line while lights are still yellow, you are safe.

What are your opinions, should I contest the fine, and it yes, how can I do that?


  • +57 votes

    Orange lasts for 4 seconds (as shown on the pictures), and you're not supposed to even enter on the orange if you can't make it through.

    You can try, but pictures tell a story of guilt…

    Read the top right - time since red - 0.9s. So about 1 second before your front wheels went over the line, it went red.

    You pushed the orange too far.

    • +2 votes

      I agree except for the last part. From the photos we don't know where the front wheels were when the light went red.

      • +7 votes

        True, but based on the distance the car has moved in the second photo we can presume that the car was a similar distance back from the first photo when the lights went red. In my estimation, the car was not past the stop line when the light went red, hence the fine for entering the intersection after the red light. The car appears to have moved further in the 0.7s between the photos than the front wheels are over the stop line. Additionally the car is braking (lights are visible) so we can presume that for the initial 0.9s car would have been moving faster, and therefore even further than for the 0.7s between photos.

        • -1 vote

          You could well be right but that is a lot of presuming.

        • +13 votes


          Australian Road Rules Legislation states; (Part 6, Div. 1, Rule 57: Stopping for a yellow traffic light or arrow)

          Absolutely nothing about front or rear wheels crossing over the line. But what it does say is;

          (1) A driver approaching or at traffic lights showing a yellow traffic light must stop

          And goes on to give exceptions to this rule. None of which applied to OP.

          we don't know where the front wheels were when the light went red.

          I beg to differ. Using maths, I can have a really good approximation to where OP was when the light went yellow (or red for that matter…)

          To give you an idea of just how ignorant and entitled OP was, at around 30km/h, OP was approximately 25 to 30 metres away from the intersection when it turned yellow. More than enough space to stop a vehicle that size from that speed.

          OP was travelling just under this speed during the corner, so would have been going much faster and have been further away. 30km/h seemed like a good speed based on the measurements. Take the frame photos are 0.7 seconds apart and the car has moved a little over a car length between frames. Average car length is about 4.5 metres. Stretch that out to a full second and the car would have covered about 6.5m in 1 second. 6.5m/s = 23.5km/h…

          At 20km/h, OP would have been approximately 15 to 20 metres away.
          At 60km/h, approximately 60 to 70 metres…

        • -2 votes


          I'm not arguing that it's not a red light infringement because it most probably is based on the photos.

          But on my point, nobody can tell where the front wheels were at the time the light turned red because we don't have speed, braking and acceleration data. For all we know the vehicle could have been (near) stationary in the first photo (eg. waiting for pedestrians) and then accelerated like a wannabe V8 Supercar driver.

          The photos (evidence) provided are one-dimensional and their purpose is to show that the vehicle ran a red light. They served that purpose.

        • +5 votes


          nobody can tell where the front wheels were at the time the light turned red

          Absolutely irrelevant where the wheels were. Getting your front wheels over a line on the road does not mean you get a free pass. A yellow light is not a race to a line where the prize is immunity from red lights.

          Even in your "but they could have been stopped" example, OP should have remained behind the stop line. There are rules for both these situations. @abb posted further down the exact legislation that applies to where OP should have stopped if the intersection was blocked.

          we don't have speed, braking and acceleration data

          I have already shown you the maths in my above post to show you where this car would have been in relation to the lights and its approximate speed when photographed. There is no way that car accelerated from a standing start to 25+km/h in a car length. OP would have had ample opportunity to see and react to the yellow light, but chose to run it.

          The amount of people in this thread that have this misconception that "If I get my front wheels over the line on a yellow, I can treat it as a green" is astounding… A yellow light is NOT a fading green, but a rising red, and should be treated as a red, not a green.

        • -1 vote


          You're barking up the wrong tree, I agree it's a red light infringement!

          I never said that if your front wheels are over the line you are ok. I was just responding to Spaceback's comment, that's all! In fact I always understood that you must be completely in the intersection by the time it goes red, which turns out to be correct.

          My original point still stands though, you need a lot more data to determine where the car was when the light turned red. Anything else is just guessing, as there are a number of possible scenarios. Yes, it's irrelevant to whether it's a red light infringement or not, but that was not the point I was making.

        • +4 votes


          you must be completely in the intersection by the time it goes red

          Please, cite me the specific piece of legislation that says "if get your whole car over the stop line before the traffic signal is red, you get to carry on as normal."

          I never said that if your front wheels are over the line you are ok

          Then what relevance does your original comment have? ("we don't know where the front wheels were when the light went red.") Doesn't matter where any of OP wheels were… But you now go on to say that if I can get my whole car over the line, I'm good to go, and that simply isn't the case.

          My original point still stands though

          And no, you are still wrong. The position of the car before the photos was taken is irrelevant. The other thing we can do, from the photos, is work out roughly the speed of the car. Working out the speed can give us position. While we cannot be centimetre perfect, it is certainly not "guess work". OP had ample time to come to a stop. This is able to be worked out using photos that are supplied and a little bit of simple maths. Do you want a shitty MS Paint drawing?

          I agree it's a red light infringement!

          My above comments are not about the ticket in this situation at all. My comments are to dispel the misinformation and misunderstanding of the current road rules legislation. That is, you cannot run a yellow, no matter how much you speed up to get your car you have over the line when it turns red. Saying "but my whole car was over the line by the time it turned red" is not a defence. The only defence to going through a yellow would be if you got there as it turned yellow or if it was unsafe to stop.

        • -1 vote


          Our train of thought seems to be out of whack on the matter so we'll have to agree to disagree and leave it at that I think.


          @tranter: I dont think i have ever come across a yellow / orange light that lasts for 4 seconds? Where did that measurement come from?

        • +3 votes

          From the photo itself


          @nickxau: So that 4 seconds is basically what the RTA or department is saying? I call shenanigans on them, I seriously doubt its 4 seconds at least from the sydney roads i drive on every day to work and back, Generally the wait time seems to differ depending on the speed limit of the road and even on the 80km roads i dont remember a 4 second yellow light, 4 seconds is quite a long time. I seriously doubt a 60km limit road has a 4 second yellow light.

          Just time it out right now and think about driving around if you have seen a yellow light for that long. I just went on my stopwatch on the phone and tried to imagine it and wow it is a long time :).

        • +2 votes

          Not saying you're wrong or right. Just merely pointing out why everyone is saying 4 seconds for an amber light.

          As for whether 4 seconds is a long or short time, it's relative really. Don't you agree? :P

        • +1 vote


          No worries man, I wasnt saying you were leading me wrong or something. I was just saying from my experience and i drive about 2-3 hours a day, i reckon the company is exaggerating the facts if they reckon its 4 seconds for a 60km traffic light. but i cant prove that intersection isnt i guess. not without driving it myself.

        • +1 vote

          @lonewolf: traffic lights have standard orange light times based on the speed limit and the volume of traffic. Sure, it doesn’t seem long, but you might be surprised if you time it regularly.

          Higher speed limits or more traffic would be longer orange phase. Don’t forget, they need to allow for trucks to stop safely.


          @Euphemistic: that’s what I was saying. Depends on the speed limit and even on the 80km roads I have never come across a 4 second yellow light

        • +1 vote

          @lonewolf: Have you timed them though?

          Check this link:

          Typical range is from 4.0s to 5.5s. The RMS paper describes a legislated minimum of 3.0s (with special approval) and max of 6.4s. Seems I was not correct about why the variance, it is speed and grade, not traffic volume that determine the times.


          @Euphemistic: I will try to time them today

        • +1 vote

          @lonewolf: The reason YOU don't see a yellow light that long, is that you pass the light with yellow at 2 seconds, and miss the remaining 2 seconds of yellow. I always thought the yellow light is extremely long in Australia.

        • +2 votes


          So that 4 seconds is basically what the RTA or department is saying?

          Yes. And it isn’t "basically", it is as per their guidelines that are outlined in this document on page 23…

          Traffic Signal Operation, NSW.

          4.5 Yellow
          A separate time setting is provided for the yellow interval of each phase. Legislation requires that
          these be no less than 3 seconds and, accordingly, the background software in the controller will not
          permit values less than 3 seconds.
          The yellow time setting must allow sufficient time for vehicles to stop at the stop line and will
          therefore be governed by vehicle speed limits and, in some cases, by the grade of the approach to
          the stop line. Typical time settings for relatively flat grades are shown in table 4.1. Where grade
          needs to be considered, table E.2 Guide to Traffic Management Part 9, appendix E (Austroads
          2009) can be used. Should yellow times less than 4 seconds be required for a special situation, then
          the written concurrence of the Manager Network Operations, Transport Management Centre shall
          be sought.

          Table 4.1
          Design speed - Time setting
          40 - 4.0
          50 - 4.0
          60 - 4.0
          70 - 4.5
          80 - 5.0
          90 - 5.5
          The maximum value is 6.4 seconds.

          You know… So there is that…


          @cameldownunder: not if i am stopping and am there for all of it.


          @pegaxs: it is basically because it doesnt matter what they say, it is what actually happens. anyway i will be timing it.

        • +1 vote

          @lonewolf: please don’t time it while driving, concentrate on the road. Pick a couple of intersections and sit and watch the lights for a couple of cycles. Don’t forget to account for reaction times.



          Have at it. Time away. I did the same thing in my area tonight at every set of lights that I got pulled up at (because you got me curious) and every single one of them was 4 seconds (all in 60km/h zones)

          Even pulled up a couple of older dash cam footage, and any that had camera footage of yellow lights, and all that I could find were 4 seconds. YMMV…

          If you do find any that are under 3 seconds, be sure to let RMS or your local council know that it is not safe.


          @pegaxs: Insane maths!

    • +6 votes

      "and you're not supposed to even enter on the orange if you can't make it through."

      You arent supposed to enter an intersection under orange if it is possible to stop safely.
      Passing through the intersection doesn't enter into the wording of the law as far as I know.

      • +3 votes

        Passing through the intersection doesn't enter into the wording of the law as far as I know.

        Well, you need to read up on your road rules… :) (link in my above post…)

        3) If the traffic lights or traffic arrows (as the case may be) are at an intersection and the driver is not able to stop safely under subrule (1) or (2) (as the case may be) and enters the intersection, the driver must leave the intersection as soon as the driver can do so safely.

        • +2 votes

          Yeah but the leaving isn't a condition of entry for a vehicle in motion.

        • -2 votes


          That is correct, but a quick read over this thread shows just how many people have this misconception that if they can just get over the stop line before the red shows, they are free to take their time after that…

    • +10 votes

      you're not supposed to even enter on the orange any intersection, even if the bloody light is green if you can't make it through

      128 Entering blocked intersections
      A driver must not enter an intersection if the driver cannot drive through the intersection because the intersection, or a road beyond the intersection, is blocked.
      Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.
      The intersection, or a road beyond the intersection, may be blocked by congested traffic, a disabled vehicle, a collision between vehicles or between a vehicle and a pedestrian, or by a fallen load on the road.

      • +1 vote

        That's what I thought so many idiots do this and block the incoming lanes.

        • +2 votes

          Reminds me of the time when I was in the left lane of a blocked 3 lane intersection, stopped at the line. Cars were proceeding and blocking the intersection, preventing the next wave of traffic from crossing (it all was turning) from the opposite side.

          Going by #128, noone would ever be able to proceed (ie until traffic from the other side abated, ie an hour or so), as all three lanes on the other side were filling by the constant flow of traffic from the side adjacent to us, each time we got a green. Proceeding at any point meant you would be blocking the intersection for at least 10-30s or so.

          The guy in an SUV behind me also saw the opposing feed was filling so each green was allowing barely only a few cars, if any, from our side. He was unhappy with me not moving across the line to a position that would leave me stranded in the middle like a selfish turd.

          He saw this as the cause of some kind of emergency- and decided to set an example to his children about entitlement and how best to deal with other road-users, by blasting them out of the way with repeated use of his horn. Of course, if I had got out and recited #128 to him he would have been even less impressed.

          Luckily it was R U OK day the next week, hopefully he had an opportunity to sort himself out.


          @resisting the urge: Lately, everyone is angry on the roads. Seriously, every day someone honking or tailgating me in left lanes going the speed limit or even exceeding it by 1-2kms. What the hell is wrong with Melbourne?

          So many angry people.

        • +1 vote

          @resisting the urge: If I can see the traffic ahead is moving such that I will clear the intersection before the light changes, I will go ahead. Otherwise it's likely some prick from the next lane will jump in!

          I've always been tempted to get out of my car when the guy behind honks. Just look at them, make it obvious you aren't moving until they calm down. But the urge to keep my skull in one piece usually wins.


          @abb: When you think it through, it's an absurd rule, and in some examples, fails everyone.

          E.g. Watch any group of cars turning right at a set of lights from a right hand turning lane. Does everyone wait behind the stop line when the green arrow lights, or do they move into the middle to ensure they can make the turn with the least danger when an opportunity (gap in traffic) arises? Most of the time the entire lane of cars moves forward to queue across the junction: No-one is waiting for the way to be clear, just for the first gap in the oncoming traffic.

          If everyone sat behind the line until the way was clear, junction efficiency would be badly impaired and there'd be lots of people getting immensely frustrated.

          It's funny, I remember being taught this was 'safe to do at a junction', but now am not sure how such advice avoids contravening #128.

        • +1 vote

          @resisting the urge: If a car moves to the middle of the intersection to turn right then they would be contravening #128 if the road is blocked with oncoming traffic. Likewise it would be legal to move to the middle of the intersection if traffic is flowing since the road way is not blocked.


          @resisting the urge:
          I was taught that too, and that you could complete your turn on the red because you were already in the intersection. Puzzled now.


          @resisting the urge:

          Yes, you still can do what you described as long as the intersection or road is not blocked.

          For example, waiting on the intersection for oncoming traffic to pass before turning right is fine.

          Note the examples listed in 128. Oncoming traffic is not listed as an example for the definition of a blocked intersection or road.


          @tranter: Great clarification, thanks tranter. Glad to have that clear!

    • -2 votes

      The focus on this part of the thread is OP went through the orange (yellow) at speed. But what if OP moved into the intersection at a much slower speed.

      I agree the photos appear to say OP went through a red light. Note the word appear.

      Lets do a hypothetical.

      Lets say OP slowly followed the car in front and crossed the lines just as they went from green to orange (yellow), but while following the car in front (another car or cars off picture) suddenly stopped due to an unexpected reason OP hasn't stated. Reasons could be an off picture car suddenly parking, turning into a driveway, a road rage incident, who knows??? But lets say he could not see around the corner early enough to just wait behind the stop line.

      OP is now stopped across the stop line that he crossed legally, but is now within the intersection. The first photo could be easily interpreted to show the car in front of OP having started to move away.

      OP now has a choice. He can stay and block the intersection AND pedestrian crossing (also an offence), or as he is already within the intersection he can pass through it to remove himself from blocking it.

      Under this hypothetical, these photos could be interpreted to say OP didn't run a red light but blocked an intersection. This could result in a lesser infringement, a lower fine with fewer points lost.

      The point is these photos don't necessarily say what everyone thinks they say!

      The next hypothetical on how to avoid a fine for blocking the intersection would depend on what happened to cause the sudden back-up that OP had to suddenly stop for….

  • +28 votes

    That's unfortunate. From the photos, it does look like you ran the red light. Pretty hard to contest IMO.

  • +18 votes

    Pay Up

  • +1 vote

    Yellow light duration: 4.0s.

  • +4 votes

    That sucks. My advice is to always be on the safe side. That way you'll be… Safe…

    Was walking near the exhibition building in Melb. Saw a car that wanted to turn left broke down. The left light is green, but the main light is red.

    So the 2nd guy behind drove around the brokened down car,. Lo and behold it got flashed.

  • +3 votes

    From the first photo your rear wheels are still on the line when the light is red. It seems like you were on the line too long when the light was yellow. You should have stopped the car right there and not moved that way the second photo wouldn't have captured you running the red. It would simply capture you standing still in the same spot which might or might not be finable.


      You can sit on the line and not get a photo taken as long as you do not break the induction loop.

      The camera is triggered when the car moves out of the induction loop.

      The OPs car was further back before the photo was taken, then they broke the loop and the photo was taken.

      But even if the OP did not move after the first photo they would still get the fine.
      Crossing the white line is the offence and they have crossed the line by 3/4 of their car in the first photo.

  • +2 votes

    There was no one immediately behind you so you shouldn't feel any pressure to move forward. Even if there is a maniac behind you honking, you should wait and never cross the line if it's yellow.

    Your car was in the intersection during a red light. Pay the fine.

  • +16 votes

    I was under the impression that if your front tyres cross the stop line while lights are still yellow, you are safe.

    This is a relatively common misconception.

    What the law actually states is that you can legally enter an intersection on an amber light if it is unsafe to stop your vehicle. Now that's a pretty open ended statement, but from the photo it's clear that there's nothing behind you so it's going to be difficult to argue that it was unsafe to stop at the time.

    • +2 votes

      Ah ok that explains, thanks.

      • +1 vote

        I had similar fine under similar left turn at traffic light in CBD. In my case I entered intersection at Green and then a pedestrian ran across so I breaked and stopped in between Green turn yellow and then red but as I was blocking intersection i just crossed so camera clicked photo worth $448 !

        It would have costed more to stay home and argue in court so I paid fine and moved on.


          Was the pedestrian in the photo?


          @Eeples: no because I was on second lane from lights due to bus lane.i was stopped in red and drove off once pedestrian crossed so photo didn't captured anything.if I had dash came then I challenged decision and asked RMS to pay for loss in income plus compensation !

      • +2 votes

        To add to what Gronk said, the offence is crossing the white line so your whole car needs to have crossed the line before the light changes.

        You need to treat red and yellow lights the same. Going through a yellow light is technically the same as a red light, unless there is a safety risk from stopping for the yellow.

        While there isn't an exemption for a red light, if there was a safety issue like a truck speeding towards you then common sense would of course come in to it.
        The same goes to moving out of the way for an emergency vehicle if it is safe to do so.
        For this you would probably have to go to court and plead 'guilty under mitigating circumstances'. But it would be unlikely you would end up having to pay the fine.



        When changing from green


      I actually thought the same thing - not in regards to the law, but at least in regards to how red light cameras are triggered. I don't think the camera makes a determination if it was safe for you to stop so I assumed that you don't get snapped so long as you're partly across the line when the light turns red.

      • +1 vote

        Amber is sorta like flashing red for pedestrian crossings. It’s illegal to start crossing when it’s flashing yet everyone does it. But just because everyone does it, doesn’t mean you can’t get fined for it.

        But either way, if it’s a red light speed camera intersection, why risk it?


          Saw people get fined for disobeying traffic instructions if there are police on other side. They're so blind..

          Source: city.


        Your photo will be taken if your vehicle crosses or is crossing the line when the light turns red.

        The offence is crossing the line (entering the intersection).

        There is an induction loop before the line, if you leave this loop when the light is red your photo is taken.

    • +10 votes

      there is no crime here. only an offence.

      • +59 votes

        If there was a crime, he'd have to do the time,

        But, it's only an offence so he'll just pay recompense.

        • +11 votes

          Have run out of + votes so have a comment instead

          If this comment gives me an extra + vote I'll give it to you

        • +1 vote


          Love you, Kitty.

        • +3 votes

          If there was a crime, he'd have to do the time,

          I know this isn't really a place for serious discussion, but I wish this phrase would die. It stifles discussion about whether the law is correct, or whether the law should be challenged, or changed.

          In Australia we have a system of common law, and although it's not applicable in this case, in general our laws are based on previous judgements. Challenging existing laws and fighting is how we get a better society and more just legal system.

          The attitude of "do the crime, do the time" is one of blind obedience and acceptance which is against the very idea of fair justice.


          @Odin: Some people a bitter and jaded and as soon as someone receives a fine or does an offense, they get up in arms and become ignorant pigs.

      • +3 votes

        It makes sense it's an offence so pay the 48,000 cents?

      • +4 votes

        yes there is, its a crime to start a car related thread on ozbargain without providing a diagram done in paint. straight to ozbargain jail for the op

  • +4 votes


    that's a big hit after a long day at work.

  • -2 votes

    I was under the impression that if your front tyres cross the stop line while lights are still yellow, you are safe.

    You had been wrong. Its the REAR tyres.

    You can a light, you should have stopped while it was yellow for the 3-4 seconds BEFORE it went red.

    Pay up, move on.

  • +5 votes

    Amazing how many people on here are unable to interpret road rules.

    • +3 votes

      The whole “if I can just get my front wheels over the line, I’m good to keep going” mentality in here is just blowing my mind…


        If you are in SA the rules are different, not sure about other states, but I believe there are contradictory applications of camera triggering protocols which vary from state to state.


          I think you’ll find the rules are the same, a cursory read indicated the SA rules for traffic lights are the same as nsw. I didn’t check it word for word, it it was certainly laid out the same using the same clause numbers.

          The camera protocols between states may differ though.

        • +1 vote

          If you are in SA the rules are different,

          No, they are not. Road rules are the same from state to state, hence why they are referred to as “Australian Road Rules”. Some states may have additional rules for certain state specific situations (ie: trams in Vic, but not in Qld), but the base set of road rules are uniform.

          but I believe

          So, pure speculation then? How law enforcement is conducted from state to state is up to that particular states enforcement body. The legislation says “must stop”, but does not stipulate how enforcement agencies are to deal with it.


          @pegaxs: This is very interesting, so the rules are actually the same but the police have the discretion to penalise or not penalise based on their own (probably legislated) determinations?

          *How the camera is triggered

          The camera is triggered when the sensors detect vehicles:

          exceeding the speed limit on a green, yellow or red light
          entering the intersection on a red light.*


          @jason101: they don’t really have discretion, more like the technology each area has adopted may act differently. Legislation removes the discretion bit.

    • +2 votes

      Yeah, amazing right? I see it every single day on the roads. Multiple cars. I count 5-10 a day. Where are the cops in peak morning traffic? It's amazing how they're NEVER there isn't it? Amazing!

      Probably hiding in a 40 zone, waiting for someone to do 50 lol

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