Eight in ten motorists struggle to get through yellow box junctions without stopping, a new report has found.
Research by motoring organisation the RAC found that the majority of drivers have difficulty navigating the road markings, with many blaming poorly sequenced traffic lights or bad road design.
A survey of 1,990 drivers found that 80 per cent admitted having problems, with 78 per cent of those blaming traffic lights. Meanwhile, 32 per cent said other drivers breaking the rules had forced them to do the same.
Twenty per cent of those who struggled said poor design was at fault, and 15 per cent said the junctions were used in the wrong places.
The junctions employ a ‘no-stopping’ zone, marked out by a hatched yellow box, and a driver can only enter the box if their exit is clear. They can, however, stop inside it if turning right and oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead also turning right prevent them from continuing.
Enforcement by councils is currently only carried out in Cardiff and London via cameras, and infringements can mean penalty charges of up to £130. Police have responsibility in other areas but falling officer numbers mean few people are caught.
More than seven out of 10 of those surveyed (72 per cent) believed that councils in other areas should have the power to enforce the rules, but half of these thought that power should be limited to problem junctions.
The yellow box junction isn’t short on controversy. One on the corner of New King’s Road and Bagley’s Lane in Fulham was dubbed ‘moneybox’ after it generated more than £5m in fines in just three years. Drivers blamed poor traffic light phasing for the vast number of fines – with one set letting five drivers through, immediately followed by a set that only allowed four.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams 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 to stop in them, whether that’s due to poor traffic light sequencing, poor design or being used in the wrong place.
“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. We therefore believe it is essential that every yellow box junction where a camera is installed is comprehensively tested to ensure it is easy to negotiate without stopping.”