The penalty for running a red light depends on individual state legislation, although it tends to be up to five points and a fine. Some states reserve the right to penalize drivers who commit this offense with as many as 20 points (as in the case of Illinois), whereas other states, such as North Dakota, Ohio and Oklahoma have no state laws whatsoever regarding red light violations. These states tend to implement local ordinance programs instead.
Obedience to traffic signals such as red lights is often enforced automatically in much the way that speed limits are enforced with cameras and speed detectors. However, many states have prohibited the use of such technologies. Generally speaking, in those states where red light cameras are in operation, penalties for violations tend to be less severe. Often there will be a lower fine incurred and no assessment of points. The citation may not even go on the driver's record.
As of November 2014, nine states have legislated against the use of red light cameras, 20 states have no specific laws concerning their use at all and 21 states (along with the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) have legislated in their favor. Of these, 24 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have them in operation.