The RAC says it has found “issues” with nine in 10 of the ‘yellow-box’ junctions councils want to enforce in the UK. Some 27 local authorities have put forward proposals to enforce more than 100 yellow boxes at junctions across the country, but the RAC says more than half of these boxes directly contravene government guidance.
The government last year decided councils outside London and Cardiff could apply for powers to enforce so-called “moving traffic offences” such as stopping in the hatched yellow areas at junctions. However, the RAC says such a huge number of problems with the markings set to be enforced means drivers could receive fines “unfairly”.
According to the RAC-commissioned research, which was led by chartered engineer Sam Wright, who was formerly responsible for the design and approval of yellow boxes on the Transport for London (TfL) road network, 90 percent of the boxes councils are applying to enforce have some kind of issue.
In total, Wright’s research found 61 of the 111 boxes in question (55 percent) directly contravene government guidance on such boxes, sometimes on multiple counts. The researchers found 40 of the boxes “pose visibility issues for drivers”, while 16 are on the side of the road opposite T-junctions, where the Department for Transport (DfT) says they serve “no useful purpose”.
A further 18 boxes extend beyond junctions in such a way that means they “may be considered non-compliant with the regulations”, while nine are simply in locations that are not permitted by the regulations. A shocking 90 of the boxes in question (81 percent) were deemed “unnecessarily large”, while the RAC said some boxes are difficult to see because of faded road markings.
“The issue of box size is not adequately addressed in the Government’s guidance which means many drivers will end up being unfairly fined,” said RAC spokesperson Simon Williams. “Fining people can have real financial consequences for those on the receiving end. Enforcing yellow boxes means that the driver of a vehicle overhanging a box by any amount for just a moment can get a ticket. Yet many drivers end up stopped or trapped in these junctions through no fault of their own. It is not only imperative, but a moral duty to ensure that fines are fair, justified and that the appeals’ process is consistent across the country.
“And in some cases, we believe enforcement may end up actually increasing congestion as a result of drivers hesitating before moving on for fear of being fined. This is the exact opposite of the justification for enforcement being undertaken. We urge the government to carry out an urgent review of its yellow box junction guidance and clarify what is and isn’t enforceable.”