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The offence of failing to comply with a road traffic sign or a traffic light signal is dealt with by section 36 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Unlike the vast majority of other criminal offences in Scotland it can be proved by the evidence of one witness alone.

Failure to comply with a road traffic sign, will, on conviction, ordinarily result in the imposition of a fine. Where however the sign is a ‘stop’ or ‘no entry’ sign or a red traffic light then penalty points will be imposed.

Before a sign can be legally enforced it must comply with certain guidelines.

These are set out in detail in The Traffic Signs Regulation and General Directions 2002 which set out precise requirements as to size, colour and placing of signs.

One of the most commonly encountered types of sign violation is the running of a red traffic light.

Insofar as traffic lights are concerned the obligation is on a motorist to stop, unless the light is green. One can only proceed through an amber light if the vehicle has already passed the white stop line as the lights change or it is so close to the stop line that coming to a halt might cause an accident.

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