Drivers in the West Midlands have been warned they face being hit with fines as councils are to be given tough new powers to punish motoring infringements. Motorists in the region could be hit in the pocket for stopping in yellow box junctions, ignoring ‘no entry’, ‘no left’ and ‘no right’ turning signs.
Local authorities are set to be armed with new powers to punish drivers who break these rules of the road. Birmingham, Sandwell and Walsall councils all confirmed they would be seeking to use the powers, though it is not yet known when they will come into force.
Police can enforce these rules but due to a lack of resources drivers in Birmingham and the Black Country are currently likely to get away with it. All that could change when councils take over.
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Councils could also be given more powers to take action against drivers who mount kerbs to park on the pavement but no decisions have yet been taken on that. Local authorities have previously been accused of using bus lane and parking fines as cash cows, and these penalties will bring more cash flowing into town hall coffers.
And concerns have been raised drivers could be unfairly punished if yellow boxes are not kept maintained and markings can not be clearly seen by befuddled drivers. Motoring body the RAC has also called on the Government to issue adequate enforcement guidance to councils.
Yellow boxes are used to prevent gridlock and busy junctions and ensure that traffic flows smoothly. Motorists are not allowed to stop inside them, and some can be caught out when in queuing traffic which does not move forward as quickly as they thought, leaving them stranded.
Currently only London and Cardiff councils have the authority to punish these offenses. Birmingham and Sandwell councils said they intended to apply for the use of the powers but said there was no timescale yet for when they would come into force.
While a Walsall Council spokeswoman said: “We will be seeking to request the powers to enforce moving traffic offenses, however a time scale has currently not been agreed. Walsall council will not be included in the first tranche of requests / authorizations for implementation from June 2022 and the authority will not be implementing enforcement before December 2022.
“The Department for Transport recently undertook a consultation on proposed options to manage pavement parking the analysis of which has not been completed to date. Until the results of this consultation are known it would be inappropriate to commit to any course of action but in the interim period we will continue to use our existing powers. ”
Nicholas Lyes, the RAC head of roads policy, 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.
“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.”