Drivers face rise in fines as MPs demand more traffic powers for councils
Transport Committee wants powers transferred to take pressure off stretched police forces.
Drivers in parts of Britain could face increased chance of being fined for common traffic offences after MPs called for councils to be given more power.
The Transport Committee has suggested that local authorities should be given more responsibility for enforcing traffic regulations as the police are too over-stretched.
It wants councils to be able to issue fines for “moving traffic” offences such as blocking yellow box junctions, or driving the wrong way down a one-way street without having to rely on the police at all.
Under Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 councils can apply for powers to fine drivers for parking, bus lane and moving traffic offences. While many have taken on enforcement of parking and bus lane fines, secondary legislation to allow them to take responsibility for moving traffic offences hasn’t been brought into force and the committee wants this changed.
London and Cardiff are the only two cities to enforce yellow box fines, with drivers in London hit with a £130 fine for obstructing a junction.
If the powers are extended to all councils drivers could see the number of fines issue soar.
A report from the committee says that by extending the powers to all councils in England and Wales it will remove pressure on over-stretched police forces and create a revenue stream for councils to fund measures to tackle congestion and improve public transport services.
The RAC has previously said it supports giving councils powers to enforce yellow box junctions but raised concerns that councils might see the regulations as an easy money-spinner.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “If the Government was to grant local authorities the same powers that are already being used in London and Cardiff it’s highly likely we would see a massive rise in the number of drivers being issued penalty charge notices.
“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. There is also a risk that cash-strapped authorities may see it as a lucrative revenue stream.
Unfairly set up
Mr Williams added: “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 stop in them, whether that’s due to poor traffic light sequencing, poor design or being used in the wrong place.
“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.”