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?
I received a visit from the court bailiffs recently demanding £500 for stopping in a junction box. This was a complete surprise as I had received nothing before this. I had no choice but pay as they threatened to take away my car unless the full amount was handed over. Surely they are obliged to send letters informing of any contravention before it gets to this stage. Any suggestions on how I can claim back this penalty?
Should councils warn motorists of yellow box junctions ahead by placing clear signage?
Funny question about the yellow box pcn.
That happened me when I been in London and I arrived junction with yellow box.Our lights went to green all traffic start to move as me.
But than the car ahead me stopped I do not know the reason but it stopped for 1-2sec.I reduced my speed and I must to stop to put back to first gear I tried to keep rolling but can not.(I drove the loaded van and many times the 2nd gear not enough than must to stop to put 1st gear everyone knows the reason).
But than the pedestrian stepped down(She had a red light) and I must wait until the pedestrian crossed the street(6sec the full thing!And I had full green in that time).
I appeal I wrote the reason about forcing to stop no reason and the full story.I have pic when the pedestrian walking ahead me.
Of course they rejected my claim because of THC:section174.
So it looks I must drive over the pedestrian because of the section174 made me right to kill the pedestrian.
Is this right? I do not think so.
But what do you thinking about this?
I’ve just received a PCN i remember the incident as I thought at the time that I was lucky not to have actually “stopped” (just touching brakes) I was rolling slowly and then the traffic started to move. You can see the two cars on front do not have their brake lights on either
But of course the photo evidence only shows the brake lights!!
Do you think that I have a good chance to win an appeal?
We have just had a visit from the bailiffs and fined £500. This is the first time we’ve seen or heard anything about this, at first I thought it was a con but I have subsiquently seen the visual evidence and I was in the box for a few seconds then went into the other lane crossing over.
Hi, we have just received a notice fir the dreaded yellow box. Our truck and chipper are quite long and so there are 2 yellow boxes that we have to go between. Whilst the truck is not I a box the chipper looks like the very back of it is! We can’t move further forward as that would put the truck in the next yellow box! Any ideas if we can dispute this? Thank you.
I just received a PCN for this. The evidence they have sent consists of two photos, 11 seconds apart. I am turning left into a road where the traffic is waiting at a red light. I remember it clearly. I waited being the cycle lane and a bus to my right signalled that he was going to let me in. I pulled out as the cars ahead of me started to move when the light turned green. In photo 1 you can see my exit from the box is not clear, but there is clearly a pedestrian crossing my path, so I had to stop. In photo 2 I am still in the box, but the pedestrian and cars ahead have moved.
What do you think?
I have got a fine when i stopped in the box as i was turning right from a side road into the main road in forest road walthamstow in a very busy main road? Can i appeal the decision?
I’ve received a fine for stopping in a box junction. But the junction lines were very faded and not easily visable. Can i appeal successfully? thx
Hi, I received a fine for stopping in a box junction which I have made a representation on. The roads were very clear at the time of the incident and footage shows that up ahead there was a single car moving through the box junction with more than enough space for my car to clear it should the traffic lights ahead turn red (which they did). The car in front however, unexpectedly stopped way short of the traffic lights trapping me in the box. It was a driving school car and clearly the learner driver made this inconvenient error. I couldn’t have predicted this unexpected stop, but my representation has been turned down. The council has stated that one always has to stop until you’re sure the box is clear to drive through. I would have thought that rule is practical for heavy traffic, but not for a clear road with hardly any other cars around? I wondering whether to appeal or just pay the fine. It seems so unfair as my car also didn’t obstruct any traffic at the time.
I’ve received a fine for stopping in a box junction, but I was not the driver of the vehicle. My leased car was collected for auction by the car auction company 12 minutes earlier. Can I appeal PCN if I have Electronic Vehicle Appraisal with date and collection time, but I don’t know the new owner/keeper or even driver name?
I’ve received a fine for stopping in a box junction. When I entered the box junction my exit was clear however a car in front of me switched lanes after I entered the box and took my space thereby forcing me to stop on the box!
Can I appeal this?
I have received a pcn for stopping in a yellow box (at the start). 2 lanes merge into one. There is a pedestrian crossing just before start of the box (with a pedestrian walking dog on the foothpath). A lorry in front of me. How do I ask for video evidence.
Can I appeal a junction box ticket if there is no junction as the side road was closed to all traffic due to road works?
I had to stop on a box auction because the traffic in front of stopped before I could get fully clear. Only my rear wheels of my car are in the box junction, probably less than 0.5m of the back end of my car. I don’t seem to obstructing the junction. Do I have grounds for appeal?
Hi. I have just got a penalty for stopping at the beginning of a box on a straight road by a small junction. can’t see the reason other than a trap, The thing is that while i had the chance to see there was traffic well down the road after it. I could not see that the very large lorry in front of me had with an equally long trailer was going to take up all the room thus it was to late for me to stop. I was not blocking the turning so nit causing obstruction. I have paid it as i have found in the past contesting anything you never win. I can’t understand why you have no appeal after you pay. its probably based on admission.
Should there not be a notice for the cameras?
my local council recently installed a camera warning sign at a T junction with a box junction. As I approach the T junction there is always queuing traffic to my left, so if I want to turn right my view is obscured to the left. To the right the road is clear. If I pull out to turn right and then a vehicle comes from the left I am forced to stop in the yellow box. I cannot see anywhere where a T junction box junction rule is explained and have heard of people getting a pcn for stopping when turning right.. I asked my local council to clarify the rules there but they just skirt around it and won’t give a yes or no answer. Can you explain it please.
hi scott I have also got few PCNs for Rotherhithe tunnel Approach for my Citrioen berlingo Enterprise XL van. It is just a small van so I had no idea the gross weight was over 2ton, latest PCN issued on 09/04 but date of notice is 16/04 which is like a week later. I have paid several other ones but I am not comfortable with this one… any idea how I can make a successful appeal please? thanks a lot in advance.
hiya I have received a PCN as well any suggestion how I can appeal this please? the van at the front sunddely turned to middle lane which got me blocked in yellow lane, please advise thanks
Hello, I got caught out on the same box as Robbie. There is a trafic light controlled crossing permanently about 20 metres from the exit from the box and I had to stop half in the box because i couldn’t exit because there were cars in front of me stationary that i couldn’t see until half way round the corner. What do you think my chances are taking it to the adjudicator?