Is it a sin to run a red light?

Do you tend to push the limits when you’re driving? Maybe you rush wherever you’re going, speeding past the cars around you. Perhaps you roll through a stop sign without coming to a full stop or press the accelerator to get through a yellow light.

Are these bad habits—which many people have—sinful? That was on the mind of Sal from California, who called The Patrick Madrid Show after dropping his daughters off at school.

Sal explained, “So I’m driving my kids to school today, I’ve got three daughters, and I did the usual rush to get through the yellow light to not get stopped by the red. … So my daughter riding in the front said, ‘Dad, I think you just threw a red light.’ I said, yeah. She said, ‘Is that a sin?’”

First, Patrick clarified what would be considered “running a red light” in the eyes of the law. “As I recall, as long as you are into the intersection when the light is still amber, it’s technically not a red light. And I think that’s a judgment call on the part of the police.”

However, those legal technicalities don’t make it right to do.

“I would tell you, Sal, I think it probably is sinful,” explained Patrick. “Especially if you have children in the car and you’re putting their lives at risk, that would be a sin against the Fifth Commandment. The Fifth Commandment does not only mean though shalt not kill an innocent person, it can also refer to sins where you’re reckless and you endanger your life or the lives of other people for no good reason. So if you’re in the habit of running red lights, I would say, yeah that probably is a sin.”

To avoid driving recklessly in the future, make a good effort to leave your house a few minutes earlier. When you’re not in a rush, you can take your time and be careful to protect yourself, the people in your car, and everyone else on the road.

Drive safe!

Tune in to The Patrick Madrid Show weekdays at 8-11am CT only on Relevant Radio.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.