The Legalities Around Accidents and Running Yellow Lights

Running a yellow light can be illegal. This type of behavior is governed by s.144(15) of the Highway Traffic Act. It reads:

Amber light
s.144(15) Every driver approaching a traffic control signal showing a circular amber indication and facing the indication shall stop his or her vehicle if he or she can do so safely, otherwise he or she may proceed with caution.

The charge for violating the above provision can be hefty. It is found at s.144(31.2) of the Highway Traffic Act. A motorist who charges a yellow light is liable for a fine ranging from $150 – $500. That motorist could also receive three demerit points.

A motorist does not have an automatic right to proceed through a yellow light. The above provision should be seen as an exception to the rule that one is required to stop at a yellow. A motorist is unlikely to be charged if it is more dangerous to stop at a yellow than it is to proceed. For example, on high speed roads, it might be safer to proceed through a yellow than locking one’s brakes to stop.

Further, other road users cannot assume vehicles approaching yellow lights will stop. For example, it is unwise to make a left or right turn in front of vehicles approaching yellow lights. Those road users should only proceed when they are absolutely certain that approaching vehicles will stop.

About the Authors

Jordan takes deep satisfaction in advocating for those who have been affected by serious personal injuries. His practice focuses on motor vehicle collisions, occupiers’ liability, product liability, municipal liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, accident benefits, and long-term disability claims.

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