Wait! Stop!: Running yellow is against the law?

A DECISION to drive through a Mildura CBD intersection while traffic lights were yellow has landed a P-plater in court.

But the charge was the subject of some confusion, so Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge sought clarification as to whether it was an offence to run a yellow light.

The 22-year-old woman, who holds a NSW probationary licence, was seen by highway patrol officers passing through the Deakin Avenue and Eighth Street intersection while the traffic lights were yellow.

The court heard it was 12.23am when she entered the intersection just before the lights turned red.

The woman received three demerit points and a $389 fine – an identical penalty to the charge of running a red light – but elected to have the matter heard by a magistrate in court. 

She pleaded guilty to the charge at the Mildura Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Mr Lethbridge temporarily stood the matter down and asked police prosecutors to seek clarification of the law, initially questioning whether it was an offence.

“If it is, I can’t remember the last time I dealt with that charge,” Mr Lethbridge said.

“If this was enforced every time it happened, there’d hardly be a driver left in the state.”

When the hearing resumed, Leading Senior Constable Matt Pardon said it was an offence to fail to stop on a yellow light unless it is unsafe to do so.

Ldg Sen Constable Pardon said footage showed the lights were “on the cusp” of changing to red when the woman passed through the intersection and that she had ample time to safely stop.

Mr Lethbridge found the charge proven but dismissed it.

He said it was a good learning lesson for the woman.

"It just goes to show you can't go through a yellow light unless it is unsafe to stop," he said.

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