LONG SUFFERING drivers could be hit by a huge number of fines as the Government has given cash-grabbing councils new powers to punish poor driving practices.
The Department for Transport has confirmed the powers are to be enforced from December where drivers could face £70 fines for a string of offences.
For the first time, drivers from outside of London will face fines for “moving traffic offences” including stopping in yellow box junctions and performing bad turns.
The new powers generate concern that cash-strapped councils could use them as a way to generate revenue.
The rules are expected to be published by councils in advance with guidelines to ensure motorists are not unfairly targeted.
Almost 300 councils in England, which already have responsibility for enforcing parking offences, will be able to apply for the powers.
London and Cardiff are the only cities in England and Wales with such powers. Elsewhere police forces are responsible.
• Driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
• Entering and stopping in a yellow box junction.
• Using a route restricted to certain vehicles (eg, access only).
• Failing to give way to oncoming vehicles.
• Performing a prohibited turn.
• Failing to comply with a no-entry restriction.
• Breaching a ban on certain types of vehicle (eg, weight restrictions).
• Entering a restricted pedestrian zone.
• Waiting in a pedestrian zone.
Motoring groups have warned drivers could be hit by a huge number of fines.
Research carried out by RAC found that drivers from London and Cardiff were collectively fined £58m in a year for moving traffic offences.
A single yellow box junction in Fulham, west London, for example, drew fines of about £1.7 million a year.
RAC spokesman, Simon Williams, said: “We’re fearful that some authorities may be over enthusiastic in using their new powers for revenue-raising reasons.
“Drivers who blatantly ignore signage or highway rules should expect penalties but there are instances which are not always clear-cut. Large yellow box junctions can be particularly problematic to get across without stopping.
“So it’s important common sense is applied rather than instantly issuing penalties to drivers. The first thing councils should do is review the road layout at these junctions.”
Currently, councils only enforce parking offences and driving in bus lanes.
Typically motorists are fined £70 for such offences, rising to £130 in London.