Law change could see more fines handed out to drivers for ‘moving traffic offences’

Drivers may soon receive a fine for stopping on a yellow box junction due to new powers which councils will be applying for.

However, many drivers have voiced their concerns over the new fines becoming a money-making scheme. Moving traffic offences can apply to driving in a bus lane, making an illegal U-turn and going the wrong way down a one-way street.

Currently, only the police can enforce fines for such offences in most areas of England and Wales. The only exceptions to this are London and Cardiff – but that could soon quickly change.

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From Tuesday, May 31, all local authorities in England and Wales will be able to apply for the power to fine motorists for moving traffic offences. Fines could be as low as £20 all the way up to £105 if the payment is made late or for more serious offences such as parking on a cycle path.

Simultaneously, bus lane fines are set to skyrocket to £70 while automatic number plate (ANPR) cameras will be utilised to regulate moving traffic offences. Council will be able to keep surplus funds from moving traffic fines to fund highway improvements and environmental projects, unlike funds raised from speed camera fines.

Ministers have said the law change may help “improve air quality through reduced traffic congestion,” and “encourage behavioural shift towards sustainable travel choices” by improving the reliability of buses and improving cycling accessibility. Despite these claims, a Freedom of Information request submitted by the RAC revealed that councils in London generated £55.7m in revenue from moving parking violations in 2018-2019.

Meanwhile, Cardiff council received £2.4m in fines. The request also revealed that yellow box violations attracted the highest amount of revenue with a total of £30.5m in London and £826,424 in Cardiff during 2018-2019.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “It’s plain for all to see that London boroughs, Transport for London and Cardiff are generating phenomenal sums of money from the enforcement of moving traffic offences.

“The vast majority of drivers we’ve surveyed agree that those who stop on yellow boxes, make illegal turns or go through ‘no entry’ signs need to be penalised, but when it comes to extending powers to other councils many are concerned, with 68% thinking local authorities will rush to install cameras to generate additional revenue.”

Announcing the law change last year, Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “Local authorities will need the tools to manage roads in the way that best serves local needs, which may vary in different parts of the country, and it is this ethos of localism that lies behind our decision to give more powers to local authorities under the Traffic Management Act.”

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