Yellow box junctions can often catch motorists out and result in hefty fines. Most yellow box junctions are found in cities with enforcement cameras automatically processing penalties.
RAC research reveals that 8 in 10 drivers say they struggle to clear yellow box junctions. Nearly half of motorists admit to getting accidentally stuck in them, with 1 in 3 blaming other law-breaking motorists for their contravention.
An investigation by Click4Reg revealed that London councils earned up to £520,000 from moving traffic violations every day. The City of London borough issued nearly 200,000 penalties in 2017-2018, raking in almost £25 million.
One of my followers asked me for advice on how to appeal a yellow box junction ticket after being caught by a camera in London.
This was the photo I was sent to look at.
The question was as follows:
Hi Scott, can you help with something? Robbie has a fine for being in a box junction. Thing is he came from round a corner so could not have foreseen that there were already cars stopped in the junction, so he got stuck.
Are there any rules or special conditions we could apply? His is the Mini.
What is a Yellow Box Junction?
A yellow box junction is a traffic control measure designed to prevent gridlock at junctions. They are there to help keep traffic flowing, although they are just treated as easy cash cows for local authorities.
Yellow Box Junction Rules
You may enter a yellow box junction when your exit is clear and there is enough space on the other side of the junction for your vehicle to clear the box completely without stopping.
You can only enter a yellow box junction when your exit road is clear. If you are prevented from doing so by traffic up ahead, you need to wait until there is space for you to clear the box entirely without stopping.
The basic rule is that you are not allowed to stop in a yellow box junction.
Section 174 of the Highway Code states:
Box junctions. These have criss-cross yellow lines painted on the road (download ‘Road markings’). You MUST NOT enter the box until your exit road or lane is clear. However, you may enter the box and wait when you want to turn right, and are only stopped from doing so by oncoming traffic, or by other vehicles waiting to turn right. At signalled roundabouts you MUST NOT enter the box unless you can cross over it completely without stopping.
The contravention is that he stopped in the yellow box because of the presence of stationary vehicles.
This is a typical council trap.
If you look closely at the photo, you can see that temporary roadworks have been put in place that cannot be seen by a motorist’s line of vision before turning in and entering the yellow box junction.
I would be asking for evidence that the Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) has been adhered to via a Freedom of Information Request to the Council. Has the set criteria been followed to the letter? Not likely.
A reasonable person would not foresee the probability of being caught in a yellow box junction under the circumstances.
After all, Robbie does not have X-ray vision to see around corners for lines of traffic on an adjacent road where one lane has been temporarily closed.
Is this Yellow Box Junction compliant? I believe it is not. There is no way of knowing that you cannot clear the box or avoid it once you see that it is blocked with traffic queuing alongside temporary roadworks. It is impossible and too late to go back and you are left with no choice but to stop in the box.
A successful appeal would hinge on the fact that you could not have anticipated or predicted this.
A driver may exercise a prediction in their judgement as to whether the exit space will be clear. They are not to blame if the exit is thereafter blocked by an unexpected event such as temporary roadworks funnelling another vehicle and cutting into his right of way without warning.
The onus is on you to prove it.
This is a straightforward appeal on the face of it, although Councils are making it increasingly difficult because it is such an easy and lucrative source of income. They obviously do not want a precedent to be set and open the floodgates for retrospective claims to be made.
Can you get points for stopping in a yellow box junction?
No – you will not receive penalty points on a driving licence as it is considered a minor infringement.
Can you stop on a yellow box junction?
You can stop in a yellow box junction when turning right if you are prevented from turning by oncoming traffic, or by other vehicles waiting to turn right.
How long can you wait in a yellow box junction?
You can wait in a yellow box junction if you want to turn right and are stopped from doing so by oncoming traffic, or by other vehicles waiting to turn right.
How long are you allowed to stop in a box junction?
You must not enter the box until your exit road or lane is clear. However, you may enter the box and wait when you want to turn right and are only stopped from doing so by oncoming traffic, or by other vehicles waiting to turn right.
What happens if you get stuck in a yellow box?
Any motorist caught stopping on the yellow grid illegally can be fined for obstructing traffic. You could be fined up to £70 if you are caught using the box incorrectly. The fine is £130 in London with a 50% discount if paid within 14 days.
Is a Yellow Box infringement a criminal offence?
No – it is classed as a civil offence. You therefore have no right to defend yourself in Court.
What to do before you lodge an appeal
Read the PCN carefully – check every technicality.
Make sure you send an appeal to the correct local authority (sounds obvious but it is a common mistake).
Follow the appeal procedure and lodge it within the time shown.
Provide a comprehensive explanation and be polite and professional throughout.
Attach copies of evidence to support your claim (do not send originals).
Request a copy of the video and save it.
What to look out for before you lodge an appeal
Is the car registration correct? If not, you can argue that you clearly did not commit the alleged offence as you are not the registered keeper of this vehicle. You will still need to appeal it.
Has the road name been spelt correctly? For example, a PCN may say that a contravention took place on Avenue Park Road, where in fact it was on Avenue Road. You can argue that no such restrictions existed on the road they have named, therefore the PCN cannot be enforced.
Check the date, time and location. See if it can be proved that your vehicle was at the location shown at the time and date of the alleged contravention. If you can prove that you were not at the location at that specific time or date, it can be said that you did not commit the offence.
Are your details correct on the PCN? If not, you can question it on the basis that it cannot possibly be you that committed the alleged offence.
You can find out more about how to resolve complaints and motoring disputes in my book.
Have you been caught out on a yellow box junction? If so, how did you deal with it?