Drivers could be unfairly hit with ‘very concerning’ fines

TfL advise on how to correctly use a yellow box junction

Last year, the Government gave councils new powers to enforce moving traffic offences, including fines for stopping in yellow box junctions. New research from the RAC has found that nine in 10 of these yellow box junctions have problems and could lead to drivers being unfairly punished.

In total, 27 local authorities outside London and Cardiff have unveiled plans to enforce 111 yellow box junctions.

However, the RAC states that more than half of them directly go against the current Government guidance.

This includes 40 that pose visibility issues and 18 that would go beyond junctions where they could be considered “non-compliant”.

These junctions are identified by crossed yellow lines and are designed to keep the roads clear and avoid traffic jams.

They can usually be found at the junction of two or more roads, as well as outside fire stations and hospitals.

Chartered engineer Sam Wright reviewed the applications alongside the RAC and believes there are issues with 90 percent of the boxes.

Mr Wright was previously responsible for the planning of yellow boxes on London’s road network and has now warned that the new council powers may see an increase in driver fines.

He said: “Visibility issues are connected to the road layout, topography, buildings, box length, street furniture, trees, or a combination of these. 

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“While many boxes are barely visible at the moment due to a lack of maintenance, I chose to ignore this on the assumption that lines will be refreshed prior to enforcement. 

“Crucially, I haven’t seen a single proposal that reviews the visibility of the box from a driver’s point of view. If you also factor in bad weather, poor light and other vehicles, then the poor visibility situation is exacerbated. 

“This is all very concerning, especially as enforcement is carried out via cameras high in the air.”

The RAC stated that if a box, or part of a box, doesn’t protect the flow of traffic, the box junction serves no purpose and any fine is “unnecessary”.

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More than 80 percent of the proposed boxes for enforcement are “unnecessarily large”, potentially leading to drivers being unable to leave the zone with more traffic.

Based on the research, the experts warned that drivers could be fined because the yellow lines are faded or unclear.

The RAC and Sam Wright are calling on the Government and the Department for Transport to review guidance and look into the council proposals to ensure they are fair to drivers.

Simon Williams, RAC roads spokesperson, said: “We urge the Government to carry out an urgent review of its yellow box junction guidance and clarify what is and isn’t enforceable. 

“It’s vital that size and visibility issues are resolved once and for all. Councils should then be ordered to carry out audits of all the junctions they propose to enforce, including from the driver’s perspective. 

“And, if adjudicators find councils have wrongly enforced junctions, they must be obliged to refund any fines issued and correct the junctions in question.”

A Freedom of Information request found that 12 councils had been granted additional traffic powers to issue fines that were previously only handed out by the police.

Surrey Council will begin monitoring yellow box junctions this month and can issue drivers with fines of up to £70.

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