Why Do Box Junctions Exist?

Tue 3rd May 2022

As new legislation comes into force this month which allows local councils to fine drivers for stopping in a box junction, one of the UK’s major motoring organisations has called for more clarity on their implementation.

The RAC has sought out expert advice from the man responsible for implementing Transport for London’s yellow box junctions and found that there is plenty of grey areas and opportunities for local authorities to enforce the laws incorrectly.

Sam Wright, chartered engineer, approved the rules which has allowed Londoners to be fined for stopping in a box junction, but he sees problems ahead as councils look to fine drivers on junctions, many of which have design flaws.

“I think designers should have to take a car out in rush hour to see if they can negotiate the box without stopping, before insisting that others do the same,” Wright said.

"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 report from the RAC has encountered junctions installed in the wrong place, boxes that are too large and box junctions also obscured by street furniture, making it almost impossible for a driver to see if there is enough space. The RAC research however shows that 57 per cent of drivers are in favour of the rules being enforced with fines.

“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,” said Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC.