One of the most irritating occurrences when driving through built-up areas and inner cities is having your junction blocked off by another motorist who decided to waltz into a yellow box with no thought as to how they were going to exit. The knock-on effect of this terrible road etiquette is monumental, as it can sometimes mean that the blocked off of traffic don’t filter through at all and the tailbacks just grow and grow.
The worst part of it all? These selfish and careless drivers are rarely if ever, punished - unless you’re in London or Cardiff, where the rules are enforced.
That is all about to change. Local councils are being given the power to enforce these moving traffic violations. Surely they already have the power to do so? Apparently not. Under the Traffic Management Act 2004 councils needed to apply for powers to tackle bus lane contraventions, parking violations and moving traffic violations. Parking and bus lane violations have been enforced by many councils but not moving traffic violations. There are concerns that these minor offences are using up the valuable time of our police force, who would be better off policing more serious crimes.
Our readership in London might be a bit confused as to what all of this is about. Yellow box violations have been enforced for 15 years now and in the 2017/18 financial year, over £16million worth of fines were handed to careless motorists. One yellow box junction in Croydon gathers up to £62,000 per year according to the RAC.
For the few of us who aren’t in London though, this should be a considered a welcomed change of legislation. Soon enough, entering a yellow box junction without a clear exit will land the driver with a £130 fine and, because it is the local councils who will be deciding where these rules are enforced, you can expect the worst affected junctions to be targetted first.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated: “I have been looking at powers outside of London provided to local areas to do some of these things, and think that I’ll shortly be making an announcement.”
There are concerns that these new powers could be used as a cash cow, particularly in areas where the infrastructure and traffic flow is too poorly managed for yellow boxes to be used effectively. One yellow box junction in Fulham apparently raised £2.4 million in fines across 18 months - which leads us to believe that the road layout is partly to blame, and not just the motorists themselves…
We’re always interested to hear your thoughts on stories like this one, so please leave your comments below and tell us which famous yellow box junctions you think need targetting first.