Most people view yellow box junctions as a revenue generator, and with figures such as £16m in revenue being quoted, it would be hard to disagree.
Or how about the near £3m revenue from a single junction in Fulham? Or the £130 fine for 123,071 motorists caught in London just last year?
If you don’t live in London, or Cardiff (the only other authority that currently has the power to fine for these infringements), then it’s doubtful that you’ll have given it much thought, but I can guarantee you, that’s about to change.
A recent announcement by the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has made it clear that he’s ready to issue all councils the right to implement and charge for moving traffic violations, previously the remit of the police. Essentially, this is all about those yellow box junctions.
After the Commons transport committee stated that the police were ‘too thinly stretched to enforce everyday traffic violations’, Shapps has placed the responsibility of these minor infringements in the hands of local councils, and will be allowing them to keep any monies ‘earned’ from them.
It would be nice to think that all local councils have an understanding of where their traffic hotspots are, and make improvements to aid the flow of traffic, thereby negating any possible need for box junctions, but cynical as I am, I can’t help feeling that there will only be enough budget to place a previously unseen / unneeded box junction in place of other traffic improvement measures. The fact that they can now make money from them of course won’t influence their decision.
Nicholas Lyes of the RAC thinks that there may be a conflict of interest: “Local authorities know where congestion might require some form of enforcement, particularly in the case of box junctions, so it stands to reason they should be able to improve this through the use of enforcement.”
“However, we remain concerned that cash-strapped authorities may see this as an opportunity to extract more revenue from drivers.”
It’s worth noting that a report by the National Audit Office in 2018 stated that local authorities have had a 49.1% real-terms reduction in government funding between 2010/11 to 2017/18. Northampton County Council have been effectively declared bankrupt, and Norfolk, Surrey, and Lancashire County Councils aren’t too far behind them.
Northampton council have been given special dispensation to raise their council tax by 5% this year.
Between 2017/18, Transport for London collected up to £16 million in fines from drivers who fell foul of a yellow box junction, but nearly 80% of respondents to an RAC poll said that it was purely down to poorly structured traffic management; being forced to stop in the box junction due to poor sequencing of traffic lights beyond the box itself.
Box junctions were first introduced back in 1967, so impatient drivers aren’t a new phenomenon, but it does seem that as traffic volume builds, driving standards are falling. With the increase of ‘surveillance’ technology, the crime of ‘failing to supply information as to identity of driver when required’ has skyrocketed – from just 12,056 convictions in 2006 to 82,029 in 2016.
This is clearly an indication as to the proliferation of monitoring devices, and with technology advancing at such a rate, this soon will be outdated and unneeded; the car will automatically monitor and send data where needed, and as we’ve seen, adjust your speed accordingly.
But as with all technology, there will be downsides: Just the same as speed or safety cameras, there will be no discretion, no allowance for external influencing factors, and no escaping the penalty notice. To a degree, these box junction cameras are already at that point – blaming poor road design, or in-built blockages that seem almost designed to stop you in your tracks is no excuse, you will get fined for any indiscretion, minor or otherwise.
Scale of charges
A number of campaigners are suggesting that a warning notice would be an appropriate response for the first-time offender, perhaps with a sliding scale of charges – repeat offenders that are blatantly trying to cheat the system should face severe penalties.
However, if councils invest money from their ‘spend to save’ budgets, you can guarantee that they’ll want to see those savings immediately, so it’s unlikely that we’ll see a softly-softly approach when it comes to revenue generation. The full force of the law will be applied, with no doubt a lengthy, tenuous, and drawn-out appeals process.
Will we see a rise in box junctions with this new legislation? Do you think it will be aimed at creating a solution for traffic congestion? Or just a simple, quick and dirty way of making money? Let us know in the comments.
Photo © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Let’s skip all the theorising-it’s just another way of extracting money from us in tandem with abrogating responsibility for improving poorly designed and managed road junctions.
Couldn’t agree more. I was left stranded on a yellow box because someone overtook me, and moved into my space just before lights that changed to red. He got across the box and I was left partially on the box- fine swiftly followed. We saw that happen on numerous occasions at this box. What a money maker!
Quite so, box junction in London, two lanes on the left going straight on, lane to the right for right turning traffic. Lights change to green, off we go and lo, a van cuts in front of me forcing me to stop with about a foot of my boot over the box lines. “Our operative observed you encroaching a box junction etc etc”. Must be a wow of a job watching out for drivers ‘encroaching’ that yellow box by a few inches. And they wonder why the motorist is so cynical.
Well they could introduce a “changing lanes in a yellow box” offence. Another nice little earner!
I’d hang the people that fine is when no crime was committed.. If you blatantly block traffic that’s different.. but not affecting other drivers and being is a scam and should be illegal..
Drivers in London need to act together on this to change the scam of a law. I’d hang them! For the fear of the bailiffs coming to my house for money that they are trying to steal
This exactly happened to me in Islington – the s*d even used the bus lane illegally to undertake me and take my anticipated space. I fought them hard but lost – they were all about the money and the tip of my rear wheels in the box. causing ZERO obstruction. No principles or values. – give me the money
If you had evidence of that then you shouldn’t have paid.. Your foolish, you should have appealed to the tribunal.. They are meant to be independent and I’m sure would have found in your favour.. Also, I am waiting on them as. The scam council are asking me if I stopped on the box junction because someone became ill? Or to avoid an accident. You were avoiding an accident… “You should never have paid, and actually sue them, for harassment, get a good lawyer/solicitor and sue these heartless motherless men..
That were raised with no morals..
I was driving my 92 year old granddad to the bank and I was more worried about the fast driver but too close to me from behind, I was also turning right going round a bend..
No traffic from my right so I wasn’t blocking anyone.. I was driving for 2 years and fairly inexperienced and unsuspecting of this type of scam box junction that has no relevance it seems… As it was not a busy time so I pleaded someone was in danger “my grandfather but obviously they said not good enough and now want £195 so I’ve begged the tribunal to look at my late case as I was poorly recently.
In my head and heart I know this particular box junction that is hard to see and you see it as your going around a bend which is obstructed and has a building to the side…
I mean it’s not rocket science to know this Enfield town one in North London… Where the worlds first cash machine is 30 second walk from it..
Fun fact 🙂 It’s an utter scam and I’m gonna sue Enfield council for the stress and fraud type scam of it..
It’s like Mafia shit..
He should not overtake at a traffic light or junction or any other hazard (Highway Code). HE should have incurred your fine. Was he not caught on the same camera? Sympathy.
too many “drivers” know nothing of what the highway code states and those who do just take know notice of the rules it contains
Box junction or keep clear marking ONLY at juctions where it helps traffic flow are a good thing. What I see on the above picture does not make sense to me.
I would prefer to let the drivers use common sense to keep these areas clear when they have no chance of progress but I think in crowded & heavy traffic areas, drivers tend to be shelfish, frustrated and ignore the bigger picture. This is where penalty needs to be applied.
Not sure if this is the case but would be fair to only fine drivers in the box only if they are there when the lights are Red
The markings in the picture are to ensure buses can get out more easily from the end of the bus lane when there is queueing traffic. That way they would be better able to stick to their timetable, thus encouraging more proles to use public transport and leave the roads clearer for the rest of us. Unfortunately you can’t rely on drivers’ common sense these days. They should neve have done away with the man with the flag.
I think you’re asking a lot for drivers to use common sense.
I love your accidental ‘shelfish’. What prawns these selfish drivers are!
PS. I think that’s the point: the light goes red and you are stuck by someone else’s thoughtlessness.
No sometimes you don’t see the box junction when the lights are turning red.
You should ONLY be fined if you affected traffic and are a bully driver who like to take peoples spot.. Box junctions that are designed to fine safe drivers who haven’t broken a law “should be illegal” what the council and tfl are doing is wrong…
They are not good people….
More stupid camera traps instead of finding out why the traffic isn’t flowing, probably all the out of sync traffic lights, like the roundabout ones that have you stop at every light for no reason, they are green when you set off, only for um to go red as you get round, this happens even when no other cars around at 5 am. Was glad when someone took a gun to the camera, that fixed it. Never worked since the first week as no money for new one!
Roundabouts should only have traffic lights (Red and Flashing amber) at entry to the roundabout, thereby giving everyone a chance to go. These should be disabled (as should all roundabout traffic lights) out of peak hours, which should be determined by queue sensors. We are talking “intelligent traffic lights”, which don’t have to be confined to roundabouts!
Better than unintelligent “jobsworths” on the council!
Oh! and yellow boxes should be advisory not enforceable, because it is hard to predict whether the traffic will move far enough for you to completely clear the box.
The traffic lights installed on the roundabout under the M57 between Kirkby and Fazakerly should get a rosette. The traffic flow has improved 200%. Other authorities e.g. West Lancs B C should take notice and near how to sequence traffic lights properly!
Box junctions can be dangerous. Many times I have stopped because my exit is not c;ear only to find a vehicle turning right across me when my way (and I have right of way) is clear and I have to stop in the box junction to stop a collision.
Many box junction marking are worn so that it is very difficult to determine the point of exit (especially in the larger box junctions).
It is sometimes difficult (in a small car) to see exactly the extent of some box junctions. A sign warning of a box junction would be most useful to drivers.
At some box junctions I have found that by the time the traffic lights have changed in my favour the box is full of vehicles which have turned right and again my exit is blocked. I don’t move and, after several changes of the lights drivers behind me get very annoyed.
Box junctions may be good in theory but are not in reality.
I believe that’s the reason for the inordinate number of transgressions in major cities one reads about. You have to wonder what self driving cars will make of the situation you describe. I don’t expect to live to see self driving cars coping with city driving as well as a competent human.
Why bother with self driving cars, before we have self driving trains. A train has no steering, it can only go forwards and backwards. An automatic one can not pass a signal at Red or overspeed on a bend, unlike a human driver. So not only do you save the cost of a driver, but you eliminate two of the major causes of train disasters!
And we already have automatic trains on the Docklands light railway and many metro systems.
After all a train is only a horizontal lift, and when did you last see a lift operator!
Just another case of ‘Legalized Theft’ that one has come to expect from both Local and National Governments. Why am I not at all surprised !?
It would have been helpful if your article had clarified the law with regards to box junctions. I believe you are allowed to enter them if you are turning right and the only thing stopping your exit is the on coming traffic. Many drivers however are unsure and hover at the edge of the box holding up the traffic behind so often theirs is the only vehicle to turn when the lights change. This,of course, causes congestion further back on the road.
Rule 174 Highway Code indicates that you may wait in a box to turn right whilst oncoming traffic clears.
Regardless of box junctions my understanding of the Highway Code is to only proceed when your exit is clear so to reinforce your point if you are the first car into a box junction turning right you are waiting for a clear exit whereas the car behind you, if in the box junction is in contravention of the highway code.
From rule 174: you may enter the box and wait when you want to turn right, and are only stopped from doing so by oncoming traffic, or by other vehicles waiting to turn right.
We know all councils will being then in as its a very easy revenue earner. Same as yellow lines. I remember being told that yellow lines were to help traffic flow i wondered why they were put in dead end streets especially around knightsbridge.
If yellow lines aid traffic flow, why allow disabled drivers to park on them? Especially now that about a quarter of the population are entitled to disabled badges, and many people use somebody else’s.
I’m all for helping disabled drivers, but the disabled passenger bit needs rethinking. maybe more disabled only non-congesting spaces? and disallow them to park on double yellow lines?
Fair point, even though my wife is genuinely, wheelchair, and it is necessary, disabled (and I NEVER use her card!)
And you get those comical double yellows on streets which are far too narrow: only wide enough (just!) for one car.
I wish there wasn’t any need for these box junctions but unfortunately they are needed! I’m sick and tired of being blocked off by the half witted idiots bumper to bumper through traffic lights etc.
They can see there’s nowhere for them to go but block off an exit/entrance to a side road junction and the dim witted, and there’s plenty of them, are only too happy to cause chaos and gridlock parked across any junction.
Harborough road Northampton, box junction with Left hand entry road. Going South traffic stops, vehicles on Harborough Road keep box junction clear, when traffic moves again vehicles from left filter in before south bound vehicles; fill junction: result priority traffic is forced to stop on junction. CHAOS!
Box junctions are NOT a safety measure. They were designed and provided for a better flow of traffic by preventing vehicles from queuing across a route and allow a path for vehicles to cross the path of other vehicles that would otherwise impede their route. They are usually a road planners afterthought as the junction the yellow box covers has been poorly designed and the safer and correct remedial practise would be more expensive to build. Few legislation makers are road planners and vice versa and as a result the junctions are seen as a cash cow by the appropriate local authority. Few lawyers point out to Courts the true reason for the box junction, preferring to try to wriggle a get out by using the wording of the legislation and not the inevitability created by a poor junction planner.
Whilst in theory the box junction is a good idear, giving the collection to councils is not. They will treat it as a money making idear. There are already areas that the road system has been altered so that the motorist is slowed down for no reason .It is another way of hitting the motorist and make money from him or her.
U.K. Government employs Civil Servants, specifically tasked with inventing ever more ways of taking money from the motorist. Using the motorist as a cash cow was made a priority many years ago, mainly because Government knows that, (a) we as a Nation love to have the freedom of our vehicles, and (b) because Public Transport infrastructure in this Country is so abysmally poor.
I’ve been driving for over 55 years and have noticed the standard of driving declining to a dangerous level. Mostly due to selfish inconsiderate drivers of all ages and gender. If people adhered to the highway code and used common sense assessing a situation a lot of the road markings wouldn’t be needed and the councils would have no reason to take the measures they do and have to enforce the highway code.
Like yourself I too have been driving for 54 years and have also noticed the change in the standards of driving, which in my opinion have worsened due to the ever changing driving test, which as I see it seems to be more concerned with how good one is with driving a computer rather than a car which I was told (when learning) is a killing machine if handled incorrectly, for example more emphasis is placed on how to programme a sat nav than how to park a vehicle correctly so as not to cause a hazard.
We were taught in the days of drum brakes, no ABS, no syncro on first gear, crash gearboxes, and none of the safety features we enjoy today and were taught to drive with observation and recognision of hazards before us and to use the gear box not the foot brake every five seconds and to respect other road users AND pedestrians right to use the highway. Fear for my grandsons, one a new good driver and another learning .
Yes, I agree box junctions have been around for a long time. So have road signs which pre warn drivers of up coming hazards of all descriptions. Make it a level playing field. Now is the time to road sign the box junction to pre warn drivers. This informs the driver at an early stage – forewarned is forearmed !!!
There’s no point in putting pre warning signs up when all you’re doing is spending more money on expensive signage to inform people there is something ahead that they don’t have a clue how to use anyway!
There are a number of boxes in my town which is a good size but nothing like London and no matter where I go, I can guarantee that on any single journey 70% of people I observe using the box is using it incorrectly, I’m not a violent person, but sometimes!!!!!………
It got to the point that I almost put a sign on the traffic light post to tell people to go read rule 174 man I was so mad at these people!
I would welcome cameras on these junctions in my town and fines to go with them as there is no reason for messing a yellow box up anywhere in my town they all work well if used right. (Weston super Mare)
I don’t necessarily view this as a bad thing. With the strict proviso that any money generated MUST be ring fenced for road improvements. And maybe limit the number of box junctions paid for in this way. If there are better road management options they should be used, But even mini roundabouts cost more than painting a box junction. If someone is trapped on a junction by a subsequent halt in traffic they shouldn’t be penalised.
It still amazes me that a high number of people still don’t know how to use a box junction and don’t enter it when there exit is clear holding up cars behind them
They need educating
There’s a good one in Exeter on the inner bypass. Busses pull out, on traffic lights but cannot join the dual carriageway because of stopped traffic ahead, this then blocks the other two lanes from proceeding. So the bus sits in the box junction until the traffic moves, which can be some time. If the bus doesn’t do this I’d guess it would never get out so, however annoying it might be for all concerned, it’s the sequencing of traffic lights that must be wrong. I wonder if the bus will have to change its route in order to prevent fines, or do they not fine busses?
Box junctions are there to improve traffic flow not for safety reasons
The amount of people who don’t understand how to use a box junction is staggering.
Box junctions are supposed to improve traffic flow at junctions so are a good thing in principle, however councils seem to put then where they please, which is an abuse of their powers in my opinion. There’s a box junction in Chingford opposite a cul de sac, clearly a councillor lives down that road and needs to get out more quickly in the mornings!
All junctions should be treated as box junctions and kept clear whether a box is painted on the road or not. The rule should be one vehicle in the box at a time. However, drivers approaching from side streets shouldn’t expect to immediately join the queue when others have been in the queue for quite a while.
Also it can be difficult to spot a box junction if in a traffic jam or if it the paint is in poor condition.
I’ve just been to Manchester in the rain, where junction boxes, white lines, lack of cat’s eyes, along with poor road conditions and white street lighting that makes everything disappear that’s on the road, I’m wondering whether I’ll get a fine, if the road safety people want to get traffic flowing better, improved markings and lighting would help.
That would be the Manchester City Council that have made over £10 million on the “new” Oxford Road bus gate system… Their defense, “The sinage meets national criteria”… the truth.. The signage is crap, the council are theives.
My problem is that most drivers don’t know how yellow box junctions work! Google and read! For example, you can drive into and stop in yellow box provided you’re completing a right turn !
I agree so you are in the box junction turning right. The exit is clear then 2 oncoming cars turn left and the exit is now blocked who is at fault. The usual culprits are those that go through on red and turn left thus blocking your exit.
As far as I am aware fines for sitting in yellow boxes have been the norm in Glasgow since their introduction in the 1980’s.
The simple way to avoid a fine is to avoid entering the box unless you can see your way out.
At busy junctions, especially with lights they help the flow of traffic.
Siting in a box blocking cross flow of traffic causes obstruction.
Obeying the box is simple courtesy, and if we all drove in a courteous manner fines would be unnecessary.
I am not a perfectly courteous driver either so fines are unfortunately a fact of life!
See the other comments where drivers are cut up after entering them and left with no means of escape.
You mention Cardiff – those familiar with the Cullverhouse Cross roundabout that has about 4 sets of traffic lights on it and all guaranteed to be on red as you approach is a case in point for this. This roundabout causes huge tailbacks as it doesnt let, say 30, vehicles flow through – it stop starts a bunch of 8 usually all the way around… They will make a fortune from longer vehicles due to the yellow boxes and the abysmal frustrating light sequencing. People will inevitably make mistakes and end up with wheels in yellow boxes – the road planners dysfunction but the council’s gain. We pay both to make our life easier/better…
8 cars! Luxury! We have a junction in Harrogate (Leadhall Lane) which typically lets about 3 cars through. But your point is valid.
Try getting across a busy 2 lane box junction with a fully freighted 44 tonne articulated lorry 16.5 metres long. You need A LOT of free road space ahead before you can set off to cross the box. Whilst waiting for this space cars come past in lane 2, realise their exit is blocked and move into the gap in lane 1. Then the lights go red. Once green again the same happens again, so effectively you are stuck. If you know the road layout (often you don’t) you can block both lanes on approach. If you see a lorry driver doing this, please understand why he/she is doing it.
Lorry driver doing a job. Car driver often in no hurry. So, yes, good point.
Also don’t cut inside a lorry turning on a roundabout. Not examined for in the driving test, but it is a really foolish thing to do. They need a lot more space on cornering.
Frankly many drivers really don’t know how a box junction works. They either ignore it and block traffic or don’t enter it when turning right.
In Leeds in the 90’s the phasing of the lights were altered from traffic flowing, to a state where you would be stopped at the next set. Unless you floored it!! (Promoting aggressive driving)
Now the lights have normally been set to interrupt the flow of traffic and deter car use., Combined with expensive parking etc.
The process for disputing these charges/fines can also be more time consuming as the forms and evidence is one way, even with in car dash-cameras, often the camera data has been overwritten making defence difficult.
If you’re talking about the Loop (as I think it’s called) in Leeds, you get a gold star for even being able to navigate it!
My son was recently fined for not fully exiting the box in a London Borough, however he didn’t obstruct other vehicles in doing so. I was today in Manchester where a bus fully blocked a junction and prevented us from exiting a side road and I very much doubt they will be fined for this. Drivers need to have more consideration and if that means fining them then so be it. If you can’t learn the easy way it’ll hit you in the pocket.
I got caught in a junction box in Cardiff last year. massive traffic jams, the car in front stopped for no reason I could see despite there being plenty of room to move over the box(for them and me). I could see it was clear and went into the box only to stop on there behind the car for one second. Within a week a £35 fine came through the post. It worked out cheaper for me to pay the fine within the two weeks otherwise it went up to £70 and a court appearance. If I had decided to go to court it would have cost me much more to come back from Devon to Cardiff so I reluctantly paid it. To me, it’s total revenue raising but I have the last laugh I no longer go to Cardiff for city centre trips so it the shops that lose out as my spends now go to more welcoming places or mail orders, and they wonder why city centre shops are dying out!
Well, some time ago in Poland there was a law which allowed local councils to put up speed cameras, money went to local authority. They were allowed to hide it, no road signs to warn you. It was great money earner! to the point some small councils allocated 50% of their budget to be generated from the speed cameras. The problem was getting very bad, there were a lot of new companies whose sole business was to rent the speed cameras out. People setting these up were not trained, and the cameras were producing a lot of obviously wrong tickets, but people had to pay. It lasted years, until someone important in the government got ticketed and lost in court. The law was swiftly changed, to loud cry from local councils. The upside was a lot of now worthless speed cameras for sale :))
Most definitely will it be used for revenue, and not for road improvements, the councils shout about lack of money, but council tax keeps going up, services are getting cut, the only thing that does not get cut are councillors pay packets, years ago they use to do it for expenses only, but now some leaders of councils get more than the prime minister, this cannot be right
When I drive to work, I usually have to stop at a junction that allows two cars to stop at the lights, with a junction box behind them. This is because it’s the exit to a fire station. Idiots still stop on it.
No doubt if a fire engine did suddenly need access, we’d all have to scramble out the way so the idiots could get out of the way!
If selfish drivers deliberately block Yellow Box Junction and other road user then fine can teach a lesson but when your car is sticking out just slightly and does not interfere with other road user then a fine is not acceptable. Council are so going to abuse this new law.