Increased yellow box junction enforcement could see PCNs skyrocket
Drivers who come to a halt on ‘yellow box’ junctions could face much tougher enforcement if councils get the go-ahead on new powers.
So says the RAC as it warns that eight in 10 drivers (80%) struggle to get through yellow box junctions without stopping.
Currently, only local authorities in London and Cardiff are able to enforce yellow box junctions with cameras and issue penalty charge notices (PCNs) – but many more councils in England and Wales would like to be able to do so.
Although the rules covering stopping on yellow box junctions are normally enforced by police, declining officer numbers and the difficulty of catching offenders has resulted in little or no enforcement – leading to calls for a roll-out of camera enforcement elsewhere.
This is even backed up by drivers, with RAC research among 1,990 drivers showing more than a third (36%) believe councils outside London and Cardiff should be able to enforce yellow box junctions.
The move would be highly likely to bring about a massive increase in the number of PCNs issued. Transport for London alone issued a total of 123,071 PCNs in the last financial year for yellow box contraventions – up 14% from 108,164 the year before.
Under the Traffic Management Act 2004 local authorities in England and Wales could be allowed to enforce ‘moving traffic’ contraventions such as disregarding yellow box junction markings. Despite a recommendation from the House of Commons Transport committee seven years ago for councils to be given these powers by 2013, the Government said in 2015 it had no plans to activate them. The Local Government Association, however, has called for them to be put into place nationally, arguing the police have largely ceased to enforce moving traffic offences since the act was introduced. Scotland, however, would have to introduce new legislation to do this as the country is not covered by the Traffic Management Act 2004.
RAC spokesperson Simon Williams said: “The RAC is generally supportive of local authorities having the power to enforce yellow box junctions because of the value of local knowledge, but has concerns that it could lead to local authorities being inconsistent in their application of road traffic law. There is also a risk that cash-strapped authorities may see it as a lucrative revenue stream. To prevent this, we think warning letters for a first contravention would be appropriate.
“We therefore believe it is essential that every yellow box junction where a camera is installed is comprehensively tested to ensure it is easy to negotiate without stopping.”