The RAC has called for the Government to update official guidance on the design, maintenance and enforcement of yellow box junctions.
From 1 June 2022, local authorities outside of London will have the power to enforce moving traffic offences.
However, the RAC wants greater clarity now, to avoid motorists being wrongly fined through no fault of their own.
Boxed into a corner
Research by the RAC found that 57 percent of drivers are in favour of box junctions being enforced. However, it has also discovered evidence of major design flaws in how yellow box junctions are applied.
This included box junctions being painted in completely the wrong place, being larger than necessary, or being obscured by buildings or street furniture.
Such flaws could see drivers become trapped in yellow box junctions and subsequently being fined.
Gaps in the guidance for yellow box junctions have also been highlighted. A report commissioned by the RAC found the rules contained in Chapter 5 of the Traffic Signs Manual to be ‘generally unsatisfactory’.
Critical design flaws
In particular, the Traffic Signs Manual does not actually state the purpose of a box junction. Information on how to design and maintain them, or enforce their use, is also notable by its absence.
Chartered engineer Sam Wright, who created the report for the RAC, highlighted that the main design principle was for box junctions to “be no bigger than is necessary to prevent vehicles obstructing through movements”.
He added that: “Drivers may also be surprised to hear that there is no legal requirement for authorities to meet this design criteria and it’s simply down to the competence of the enforcing authority.”
The RAC has now written to the Department for Transport, asking for updates to be made to minimum standards for yellow box junctions. RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “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.”