The driving rule changes coming next month which could see councils issue fines

·4-min read
File photo dated 18/08/20 of a general view of traffic passing through a yellow box junction on the A2, in south London, as drivers are being warned to expect an
New laws coming into effect at the end of the month mean councils will be able to fine people for offences like stopping in yellow box junctions. (PA)

Drivers could find themselves facing a fine from local councils for driving offences that were previously dealt with by police.

New laws mean councils across England and Wales will be given new powers to fine drivers for a range of traffic offences.

The laws, which come into force on 31 May, mean motorists could be fined up to £70 for offences such as making illegal turns, stopping in yellow boxes at junctions and driving through no entry signs.

Such offences were previously dealt with by police but the changes mean councils across England and Wales now have powers to issue penalty charge notices to drivers who are caught on CCTV.

Row of bollards separating a cycle lane from motor vehicles with a sign warning that no vehicles can enter except for cycles.
Offences include going through a no entry sign. (Getty)

The Department for Transport has said that the measures will bring benefits including protecting cyclists and helping buses be more punctual.

But some have warned that the changes could lead to confusion for both drivers and councils and could lead to motorists being wrongly issued with fines.

What are the rules now?

Currently, the kind of minor traffic offences covered by the new rules are enforced by the police, apart from in London and Cardiff where local authorities have powers to do so.

This means that for most of England and Wales, only police can issue fines for the offences when they catch people committing offences such as making illegal turns or driving in bus lanes.

Changes to the laws from 1 June mean that around 300 local authorities will be able to apply for special powers to impose fines for certain offences.

Which are the offences where rules are changing?

The rules are changing for so-called 'moving traffic offences'. These include:-

  • driving through a 'No Entry' sign

  • turning left or right when instructed not to do so (making banned turns)

  • entering yellow box at junctions when the exit is not clear

  • driving where and when motor vehicles are prohibited

  • driving in bus lanes and routes reserved for taxis and buses

Councils will be able to use CCTV to issue fines which some have suggested could lead to an 'avalanche' of fixed penalty notices handed to motorists.

With parliament in the distance, a cyclist moves off from traffic lights in front of a 159 bus whose destination is Oxford Circus, on 19th April 2022, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
The measures are hoped to help buses run more punctually. (Getty)

How much could drivers get fined?

The new powers mean that from 1 June, councils can fine motorists up to £70 for the offences.

Drivers caught by CCTV cameras and CCTV vehicles will be sent a PCN in the post - in the same way fines are issued for people who drive in bus lanes.

There has been concern from some that cash-strapped councils might use the new powers to bring more money in.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams previously said: "It’s right that councils outside London have the ability to enforce known rule-breaking hotspots, but we’re fearful that some authorities may be over-enthusiastic in using their new powers for revenue-raising reasons, to the detriment of drivers.

"While the Government has pledged to give councils advice on how best to let drivers know enforcement is taking place, what’s really needed is clear guidance on making sure enforcement is always carried out fairly.

"Drivers who blatantly ignore signage or highway rules should expect penalties, but there are instances which are not always clear-cut."

Young woman texting while driving
The changes come in the same year laws about using mobile phones while driving were beefed up. (Stock image: Getty)

Are any other changes planned?

The new rules are among a range of changes to driving regulations that are taking place this year.

New laws came into force on 25 March cracking down on using a mobile phone while driving.

It was already illegal to text or make a phone call, other than in an emergency, while driving but changes to the laws went further, banning drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.

Anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving now faces a £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence.

This year has also seen Vehicle Excise Duty - commonly referred to as car tax - rise in line with inflation, putting many people's bills up.

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