Flawed yellow box junctions may result in an "avalanche" of fines for drivers when local authorities take over enforcement powers from police, according to the RAC.
The transfer of enforcement powers was initially outlined by the Prime Minister two years ago, and the change has already taken effect in London and Cardiff.
However, the RAC are warning that many junctions have design flaws, including boxes that are larger than they should be, and where buildings or street furniture obstruct drivers from seeing where boxes end, making it impossible to assess whether there is enough space beyond the junction for their vehicle to fit into. Some box junctions are poorly maintained, making it hard to see where the yellow lines start and finish.
Crossings and stop lines set too far back also make it difficult for drivers to see whether there is space to make it through the junction in one go.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “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.”
The RAC has written to the Department for Transport (DfT) 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.
“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,” continued Lyes.
“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.”
What’s the penalty for stopping in a yellow box junction?
The penalty in Cardiff, which is the only authority outside London currently enforcing box junctions, is £70. If payment is made within 21 days, then this is reduced to £35.00.
In London, many box junctions have cameras in place. On TfL red routes, the penalty charge notice is £160, reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days.