Drivers could face ‘avalanche of fines’ due to law change, says RAC

A regulation change that can give native authorities the facility to implement yellow field junctions from June 1 may result in an “avalanche” of fines for drivers, in response to the RAC. The roadside help and insurance coverage firm believes hundreds of motorists might be wrongly issued with penalty cost notices when councils take over enforcement powers which have beforehand been undertaken by police, other than in London and Cardiff, the place the native authorities already assume such tasks.

However, from June, councils will be capable to apply for the facility to implement transferring visitors offences, together with driving by means of “no entry” indicators in addition to these displaying no left and proper turns. It’s the yellow containers, nonetheless, that are designed to keep away from gridlock at junctions that the RAC really feel may result in drivers being unfairly punished and the physique is looking on the Authorities to enhance its official design and upkeep of the highway markings, in addition to its enforcement steerage.

The RAC has found that many junctions have design flaws which trigger drivers to change into trapped within the containers by means of no fault of their very own, and that some are so poorly maintained that it’s troublesome to determine the place the yellow traces begin and end. This may be as a result of the containers have been positioned within the incorrect place, or are bigger than they need to be, whereas some could be obscured by buildings or different avenue furnishings.

Gaps within the official yellow field steerage have been additionally famous by the RAC when it commissioned chartered engineer Sam Wright, who was previously liable for the design and approval of them on the Transport for London highway community, to write a report analyzing how they’re enforced within the capital with a view to highlighting the doable confusion on the horizon as native authorities start imposing them. Wright defined: “The key design principle is that yellow boxes should be no bigger than is necessary to prevent vehicles obstructing through movements.

“They don’t seem to be designed for, and serve no goal in, conditions the place autos are travelling in the identical path. The second primary situation is that drivers ought to have enough visibility past the field to have the ability to make a transparent judgement earlier than getting into it.

“It’s not just that drivers need to see the end of the box, they need to see that there is space beyond the box for their vehicle to fit without any part of it overhanging. In the case of a car that will be five to six metres. For larger vehicles, it will be up to 15 metres.

“I believe designers ought to need to take a automobile out in rush hour to see if they will negotiate the field with out stopping, earlier than insisting that others do the identical. Drivers might also be shocked to listen to that there isn’t any authorized requirement for authorities to fulfill this design standards and it’s merely right down to the competence of the imposing authority.”

Penalising drivers for ignoring a "No Entry" sign will also be an infringement of the law that local authorities will be able to punish from June 1
Penalising drivers for ignoring a “No Entry” signal will even be an infringement of the regulation that native authorities will be capable to punish from June 1

A Freedom of Data request, in the meantime, revealed in 2020 that councils in London and Cardiff accrued £86 million between 2016 and 2019 from a staggering 1.3 million penalty cost notices. On Transport for London purple routes, the penalty cost discover is now £160, diminished to £80 if paid inside 14 days.

The equal penalties in Cardiff, are £70 and £35 respectively. There is no such thing as a doubt that these figures exhibit what a profitable income field junction enforcement could be for councils, particularly if the steerage is just not clear sufficient for the legal guidelines to be utilized pretty.

RAC head of roads coverage Nicholas Lyes stated: “In the absence of definitive guidance on the design, maintenance and enforcement of box junctions there will be a high degree of confusion among drivers and local authorities which could lead to an avalanche of penalty charge notices being wrongly issued and then having to be appealed. This will inevitably lead to an unnecessarily high number of appeals for local authorities to review, as well as some poor outcomes for drivers.

“We have written to the Department for Transport asking them to update the guidance to make it clear to local authorities what the minimum standard for design and condition of a box junction should be before letting enforcement begin, but they are adamant the present guidance is sufficient. We are worried that failing to update guidance to include the lessons learnt from more than 15 years of enforcement in London will lead to countless wrong fines being issued, no end of unnecessary stress for drivers who feel they have been unfairly treated and thousands of wasted council hours investigating appeals.

“It’s absolutely crucial that yellow box junctions are enforced fairly and, as things stand, this may not be the case which will mean many drivers will be treated poorly and lose out financially as a result.”

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