Motorists could soon be more at risk of being fined for making common driving offences in the UK. There have been calls by the Transport Committee for councils to be handed more power to be able to fine motorists for moving traffic violations. With police forces and resources already stretched, a number of offences go unpunished which could encourage bad behaviour. MPs have said that councils should be able to issue fines to motorists for offences such as stopping in a yellow box junction or deriving the wrong way down a one-way street.
It has been proposed that the revenue collected from these extra fines could be used to invest in public transport such as additional buses to help ease congestion.
Under the Traffic Management Act 2004, councils can apply for additional power to fine motorists for parking offences, contraventions in bus lanes and other moving traffic violations.
However, few councils have take charge of moving traffic violations, despite them being widely enforced.
One example of councils clamping down on these offences occurred in London in 2018 when councils announced £130 fines for drivers caught stopping in a box junction.
The Transport Committee believes there could be a spike in fines for offence as councils would have more resources to enforce penalties. However, proposals have not been completely met with backing.
The RAC expressed concern over councils collecting revenue for certain offences. It conducted research over yellow box junctions and stated that they could be used as an excuse to increase revenue.
Simon Williams, RAC spokesperson, said: “Our research shows yellow box junctions are a very divisive issue with drivers.
“While the majority are in favour of councils more widely being allowed to use cameras to catch offenders, there is a strong feeling that many junctions are not set up fairly which leads to drivers having no choice but stop in them, whether that’s due to poor traffic light sequencing, poor design or being used in the wrong place.
“Box junctions can also heighten stress for drivers as those at the front of traffic lights often feel pressured to move on as a result of impatient drivers behind who don’t realise they are being prevented from doing so by the presence of yellow lines.
“If the Government was to grant local authorities the same powers that are already being used in London and Cardiff, it’s highly likely we would see a massive rise in the number of drivers being issued penalty charge notices.
“The RAC is generally supportive of local authorities having the power to enforce yellow box junctions because of the value of local knowledge, but has concerns that it could lead to local authorities being inconsistent in their application of road traffic law.
“There is also a risk that cash-strapped authorities may see it as a lucrative revenue stream.”
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