Drivers face heavy traffic fines as ‘cash-strapped’ councils gain more powers to target motorists

A yellow box junction

Councils now have the power to fine drivers for stopping in a yellow box junction

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 27/09/2023

- 12:20

Updated: 27/09/2023

- 12:20

A number of councils are already enforcing the new moving traffic offences

Drivers are being given a renewed warning to ensure they are following the rules of the road or they could face a number of traffic-related fines from their council.

Laws were changed last year allowing councils in England to apply for new powers to fine motorists for “moving traffic offences”.

Councils like Durham, Luton and Oxfordshire have applied for the new powers which can include fines for stopping in a yellow box junction, making an illegal U-turn or driving in a bus lane.

Historically, motoring fines can cost drivers up to £70, or even £130 in London, although they will be halved if paid within 14 days.

WATCH NOW: Experts warn drivers of traffic fines

With the new council powers, drivers could be hit with fines as low as £20 or as high as £105 for late payment of higher-level penalties.

Surrey County Council was handed the power to issue fines for yellow box junctions in May while Kent County Council is set to monitor a number of sites after they were handed additional powers earlier this year.

Experts are now warning drivers that they could be issued a fine more easily now that councils have more powers to issue penalty charge notices.

Tim Alcock, from, said road users should be careful when driving to ensure they do not commit any common traffic offences.

He said: “It is no secret that councils across the UK have become more cash-strapped in recent years - with some even close to bankruptcy.

“Several councils were only able to keep afloat for 2022-23 by running into millions of pounds from reserves.

“And there is clearly a lot of extra cash to be made through motoring fines, with Cardiff and London alone making over £58million in a year. We expect that other councils will be eager to implement these new powers too.”

Bath and North East Somerset Council is set to monitor five sites, looking at yellow box junctions and illegal left turns.

Derby City, Buckinghamshire and Norfolk councils have also been granted powers, although it is not yet known which areas they will be monitoring.

Tim Alcock continued, saying: “Driving through a no-entry sign and making banned turns are just some of the offences that councils will be tightening up on.

“It is always important to stick to traffic rules so that everyone remains safe on the roads, but sometimes it is easy to make mistakes or think you can get away with a seemingly minor offence.

“Sticking to the Highway Code will help keep drivers safe on the road while avoiding receiving hefty fines or driving penalties.”

Research from found that more than a quarter of motorists say traffic offences should be left to the police due to their existing knowledge of dealing with drivers.

Around 47 per cent of drivers said they were worried that councils would use the powers to make money rather than focus on improving road safety.


A car driving in a bus lane


When asked which offences they were most likely to commit, 20 per cent said they would be likely to stop in a yellow box junction, with 13 per cent saying they could accidentally drive in a bus lane.

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