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Running a Red Light / Stop Sign

It may be the most universal of traffic signals: the red light. We all know what it means when we see it: Stop. Same goes for the ubiquitous red stop sign. Yet, from coast to coast, every day there are traffic citations being written for running stop lights or stop signs.

A red light ticket can result from a lot of different driving maneuvers. A driver may not stop long enough (the famed "California stop" or "rolling stop") or a traffic camera could snap a photo of a driver while still in the intersection. It all depends on the regulations and enforcement in your specific area.

Traffic Control Statutes

All states carry traffic laws that specifically require "obedience to traffic control signals and devices" (or similarly-worded language), meaning that drivers must observe and obey all traffic lights and stop signs when operating vehicles.

The most common traffic violation associated with traffic control signals and devices is "running" a red light or stop sign -- when a driver proceeds through an intersection:

  • While a red light (or red turn arrow) is displayed on a traffic signal, or
  • Without coming to a complete stop and following right-of-way requirements when a "stop" sign is posted.

Red Light/Stop Sign Statutes

Below, you will find a list of red light and stop sign laws for all 50 states (and the District of Columbia). If you need further information, visit FindLaw's Driver's License Laws section.

State Statute
Alabama Obedience to traffic-control devices

(AL Code 32-5A-31)

Alaska Negligent Driving

(AK Statutes 28.35.45)

Arizona Obedience to and required traffic control devices

(ARS 28-644)

Arkansas Traffic-Control Devices

(AR Code Title 27, Ch. 52)

California Offenses Relating to Traffic Devices

(California Vehicle Code Sections 21450 - 21468)

Colorado Obedience to official traffic control devices

(CRS 42-4-603)

Connecticut Traffic control signals

(GSC section 14-299)

Delaware Traffic Signs, Signals, and Markings

(DE Code Title 21, Ch. 41, Subchapter II)

District of Columbia

Browse the D.C. Vehicle Code (scroll to Title 50)

Florida Traffic control signal devices

(FS 316.075)

Georgia Traffic signals

(Georgia Code 40-6-21)

Hawaii Obedience to and required traffic control devices

(HRS section 291C-31)

Idaho Obedience to and required traffic control devices

(ID Statutes section 49-801)

Illinois Traffic Signs, Signals, and Markings

(625 ILCS 5/11-301 to 5/11-313)

Indiana Traffic Control Signals

(Indiana Code 9-21-3)
Traffic Control Devices (Indiana Code 9-21-4)

Iowa Obedience to official traffic control devices

(IA Code section 321.256)

Kansas Official traffic control devices; required obedience

(KS Statutes 8-1507)

Kentucky Traffic control signals

[PDF] (KRS 189.338)

Louisiana Obedience to and required traffic control devices

(LRS 32:231)
Traffic control signals (LRS 32:232)

Maine Traffic control devices

(MRS Title 29-A section 2057)

Maryland Traffic Signs, Signals, and Markings

(MD Transp. Code Title 21 scroll to Subtitle 2)

Massachusetts Traffic control signs and devices

(89 MGL section 9)

Michigan Traffic Signs, Signals, and Markings

(MI Vehicle Code sections 257.608 to 257.616a)

Minnesota Signs, signals, and markings

(MN Statute 169.06)

Mississippi Traffic signs, signals, and markings

(MS Code Title 52, Ch. 3 scroll to Article 7)

Missouri Observance of traffic-control devices

(MRS 304.271)
Rules for traffic when controlled by light signals (MRS 304.281)

Montana Obedience to traffic control devices

(MCA section 61-8-201)

Nebraska Obedience to traffic control devices

(R.R.S. Nebr. § 60-6, 119)

Nevada Obedience to devices for control of traffic

(NRS 484.278)

New Hampshire Obedience to any required traffic control devices

(NH Statutes 265:9)

New Jersey Traffic control devices; drivers' obedience

(NJ Statutes 39:4-120.9
Traffic signals; observance (NJ Statutes 39:4-81)

New Mexico Obedience to any required traffic-control devices

(NMS 66-7-104)

New York Traffic signs, signals, and markings

(NY Vehicle & Traffic Code Article 24)

North Carolina Vehicle control signs and signals

(NCGS section 20-158)

North Dakota Obedience to and required traffic-control devices

[PDF] (ND Code Chapter 39-10 scroll to 39-10-04)

Ohio Obeying Traffic Control Devices

(ORC section 4511.12)

Oklahoma Obedience to and required traffic control devices

(OK Statute 47-11-201)

Oregon Rules of the Road: Traffic Control Devices

[PDF] (OR Vehicle Code scroll to 811.260 to 811.270)

Pennsylvania Operation of Vehicles: Traffic Control Devices

[PDF] (PA Vehicle Code Ch. 31; scroll to Subchapter B)

Rhode Island Traffic Control Devices

(RI Code Ch. 31-13)

South Carolina Obedience to and required traffic-control devices

(SC Code scroll to section 56-5-950)

South Dakota Traffic Control Devices

(SD Codified Laws Ch. 32-28)

Tennessee Obedience to any required traffic control device

(TN Code section 55-8-109)

Texas Traffic Signs, Signals, and Markings

(TX Transp. Code Ch. 544)

Utah Obeying Devices

(UT Code 41-6a-304)

Vermont Obedience to traffic-control devices

(23 VSA section 1021)

Virginia Traffic lights; penalty

(VA Code 46.2-833)

Washington Obedience to and required traffic control devices

(RCW section 46.61.050)

West Virginia Obedience to traffic control devices

(WV Code section 17C-3-4)

Wisconsin Traffic Signs, Signals, and Markings

[PDF] (WI Code Chapter 346 scroll to Subchapter VI)

Wyoming Traffic-Control Devices

(WY Statutes Title 31, Ch. 5, Article 4)

Hire a Traffic Ticket Attorney

Fighting a traffic ticket on your own isn't easy. Traffic laws and traffic court procedures can be confusing. Consider speaking with an experienced, local traffic ticket lawyer about your case today.

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