London councils raise millions through box junction fines
London councils are being accused of making millions of pounds from drivers who infringe yellow box junction rules because of poor traffic management.
Most councils have a camera trained on box junctions enabling them to enforce the traffic regulations.
One box junction in Fulham has earned the council £2.4m in Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) fines in 18 months.
The Institute of Highways Engineers (IHE) said high infringement suggested there was a wider traffic flow issue.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council has received £12m in fines from the Bagley's Lane box junction in seven years.
It said: "This is one of the busiest routes into London. Seven million drivers navigate the junction each year without breaking the rules and getting a ticket."
Top yellow-box earners
London council areas in 2016
Hammersmith & Fulham
However, Richard Hayes from the IHE said: "Something is definitely wrong.
"Should there be a lot of infringement, then I think there is something wrong with the installation."
"The situation isn't the box junction - it's the traffic flow ahead of the box junction that is causing the problem," he added.
Barrie Segal, traffic fines expert
What to do if you get a Penalty Charge Notice:
1.Read it carefully. Check the registration number of your vehicle, the location, date and time. If any of these are wrong you have grounds to appeal
2.Ask to see a video of the alleged contravention. Check another car did not cut in front of you and force you to stop in the yellow box
3.Write to the local authority with a full explanation of why you think the ticket is incorrect. Be courteous and professional
4.Include copies of any evidence. Do not send originals
5.If the council refuse your appeal you must either pay the fine or take your case to an independent adjudicator
Andrew Ashe, who has campaigned for better traffic management at Bagley's Lane said it was the "perfect money box".
"As the cars are coming through you will see one traffic light which is green, encouraging traffic into the box, and the other one is red, and then they are stuck."
The Highway Code rule 174 states: "You must not enter the box until your exit road or lane is clear."
The only exception is if you want to turn right, in that instance it allows you to enter the box and wait until there is a break in oncoming traffic to make your turn.
Mr Ashe said: "My big concern is that the councils are allowed to keep the money themselves, this means they are motivated not to make improvements, because it's leading to massive abuse."
In 2015 Transport for London earned £6.5m from its box junction fines. It said it was using enforcement appropriately and was "not just using them as some sort of cash cow".