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Driving warning as big law change next month as councils give more power to fines

DRIVERS are being warned to ensure they are aware of an avalanche of new legislation coming into force next month.

Councils across England and Wales are being given new powers to charge drivers with a range of traffic offences.

If you stop at junctions with yellow boxes, drivers may be handed a fine by the council

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If you stop at junctions with yellow boxes, drivers may be handed a fine by the councilPhoto credit: Getty

On May 31, councils will be given new powers to fine motorists of up to £70 for minor traffic offences, such as stopping at yellow-boxed junctions, illegal turns and riding on cycle lanes.

Currently only the police can enforce this – but new surveillance cameras will notify council officials of any offenders.

But auto experts have warned the changes could mean drivers being handed “misissued” fines, which then have to be appealed.

The Department for Transport said this increased surveillance will allow buses to run more punctually and protect cyclists.

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For London, councilors can already impose parking fines for stopping in yellow boxes with cameras.

Other violations that result in a fine are making an illegal turn or driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

The RAC has claimed that many motorists will be unfairly penalized if the government fails to improve their design and guidelines for crossings.

Nicholas Lyes, the RAC’s head of road policy, said: “Without definitive guidance on the design, maintenance and enforcement of box junctions, there will be a high level of confusion among drivers and local authorities.

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“[It] could lead to an avalanche of fines that are wrongly issued and then have to be appealed.

“This will inevitably lead to an unnecessarily high number of appeals for scrutiny by local authorities, as well as some poor results for drivers.

“We fear that failure to update the guidance to include the lessons learned from more than 15 years of enforcement in London will result in countless spurious fines, endless unnecessary stress for drivers who feel unfairly treated and thousands of wasted council hours to investigate objections.”

Drivers violating at a junction on Transport for London’s red routes can be fined £160, halved if paid within 14 days.

Sam Wright, an engineering graduate who was formerly responsible for the design of yellow boxes on the TfL network, said: “The most important design principle is that yellow boxes should not be larger than necessary to prevent vehicles from obstructing traffic .

“Drivers may also be surprised to learn that there is no legal obligation for the authorities to meet these design criteria and that it is simply a matter of the law enforcement agency’s jurisdiction.”

A DfT spokeswoman said: “These new powers are intended to improve bicycle safety, air quality and support for bus transport.

“It’s up to local authorities to enforce them and make sure they meet local needs.”

But parking law expert Shaf Jade has warned motorists what to look out for.

The yellow box intersections must have the approved devices, locations and certificate to prove such an offense – along with clear and enforceable yellow boxes for motorists to be eligible for a fine.

Mr Jade said: “Now that these new laws are introduced, councils will be happier with their tickets.

“They expect drivers not to object, so they impose fines.

“Under violation code 31, entering and stopping at an intersection where prohibited allows city councils to impose fines in yellow boxes. ‘When forbidden’ is the key word here.

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“Drivers may park or stop in some situations where they believe the violation does not apply, or under extenuating circumstances.

“If motorists are fined under these mitigating circumstances, there is cause for appeal.”

The rule changes will go into effect early next month

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The rule changes will go into effect early next monthPhoto credit: Getty

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https://www.thesun.ie/motors/8762370/drivers-warned-law-change-next-month-councils-fines/ Driving warning as big law change next month as councils give more power to fines

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