Punter v NTC Lumber Co Ltd (Unreported, 1995) (CA)

In 1995, Mr Punter started to cross a busy road junction whilst the traffic lights were still on amber.

Two cars had slowed down in preparation for stopping. However, as Mr Punter reached the central reservation, he was struck by a lorry. At the point of impact, the traffic lights had just turned to red.

Pedestrian crossing© Highway Code 

Mr Punter raised a Court action against the lorry driver and the company he worked for as he was driving within the course of employment. He sought to claim damages for his injury. The Judge agreed that the lorry driver had crossed over the stop line on a red light.

However, the Judge also found Mr Punter partly to blame for the incident by stepping out onto the road whilst the traffic lights were still on amber and not all approaching traffic stationary. Reference to the Highway Code was made where “pedestrians should watch carefully and not cross until the traffic lights are red and the traffic has stopped.”


The pedestrian received only 75% of the value of his injuries as he had started to cross the road when the lights were only amber. This case is an important reminder to check that all traffic is stationary before beginning to cross a road. Failure to do so is not only a contravention of the Highway Code, it can also lead to serious injury.

Note – Rule 196 of the Highway Code allows pedestrians to cross on an amber light provided that all traffic is stationary.

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