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1. Permitted Locations
The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) 2016 sets out where yellow boxes can legally be placed:
(a) at a junction between two or more roads;
(b) at a gyratory system or roundabout;
(c) along a length of a two-way road (other than at a junction), the carriageway of which is not greater than 4.5 metres wide at its narrowest point; or
(d) on the length of road adjacent to the vehicular entrance to the premises of a fire, police or ambulance station
Bus Garages, Car Parks, Private Access etc
There are some locations such as bus garages where it is quite clear they do not fit the above criteria and adjudicator cases have confirmed this. This box below on the left outside a bus station in Haringey was deemed to be illegal, but not before many thousands of tickets had been issued. The one on the right outside Camberwell Bus Garage was also deemed illegal in case 2200134664. Around 4000 tickets a year were issued at it over many years.
There are other locations such as this car park and college access where it is equally clear the location is not permitted
If your ticket was issued at a site is like this here is some text for appeal:
Schedule 7, Part 9, 11 (6) of the TSRGD 20016 sets out the permitted locations for yellow boxes. This location does not meet that criteria and it is thus an illegal yellow box.
What is a 'road'?
This is actually not a simple question. Section 192 of the road traffic 1988 has a definition:
“any highway and any other road to which the public has access”
It should be noted that a private road can be considered a road under law if the public has access. However if access is limited in some respects then it wouldn't come under the definition. It's important to note however that it is a grey area of the law and adjudicators may, as always, form their own opinions on a cases by cases basis.
In case 2220655535 in Croydon the adjudicator ruled the private access was not a "road". Again thousands of tickets had been issued and paid here.
Personally I viewed this one a borderline case because the public does seem to have access to the immediate area off the box and it is just beyond that where it is gated off. However the adjudicator ruling has helped to set a precedent. In general a gated development would indicate the public does not have access and it is thus not a "road". In the case below TfL have been issuing thousands of tickets. They may argue it is a "road" but as we can see it is a private gated development which does not come under the legal definition.
If your ticket was issued at a site like one of these here is some text for appeal:
Schedule 7, Part 9, 11 (6) of the TSRGD 20016 sets out the permitted locations for yellow boxes. In addition Section 192 of the road traffic 1988 defines a "road" as: “any highway and any other road to which the public has access”. This location does not meet any of these criteria and it is thus an illegal yellow box.
Bus stations such as the ones below are an interesting area. The public has access on foot and on a bus but not by vehicle. Is it a "road"? The law does not define how the public must have access and is thus not clear. IMO a bus station with signs that ban the public from driving into it is not a "road". However as always adjudicators may well disagree.
If your ticket was issued at a bus station here is some text for appeal:
Schedule 7, Part 9, 11 (6) of the TSRGD 20016 sets out the permitted locations for yellow boxes. In addition Section 192 of the road traffic 1988 defines a "road" as: “any highway and any other road to which the public has access”. This is a bus station and the signs show that there is no entry for the public by vehicle. It is therefore not a "road" and it is thus an illegal yellow box.
Roundabouts and Gyratories
Although boxes are permitted at roundabouts and gyratories, Part 9, Schedule 9, Point 9 of the TSRGD 2016 states it must be controlled by traffic lights:
"9. The road marking must not be placed on an area of carriageway at a gyratory system or roundabout unless entry of traffic into that area of carriageway is at all times controlled by traffic light signals."
There are many locations that do not meet this criteria. For example below in Merton and Vauxhall
If your ticket was issued at a box on a gyratory or roundabout not controlled by traffic lights here is some text for appeal:
Part 9, Schedule 9, Point 9 of the TSRGD 2016 states: "The road marking must not be placed on an area of carriageway at a gyratory system or roundabout unless entry of traffic into that area of carriageway is at all times controlled by traffic light signals." This is a gyratory and not controlled by traffic light signals. It is thus an illegal yellow box.
2. Boxes that extend beyond the junction
Boxes are not permitted to extend beyond the junction. Sometimes it's clear when this is the case but other times it is not and unfortunately the exact boundary of what a "junction" is it is not defined in law. We can use case law to give us some examples. In case
2170285940 at York St / Arragon Rd (below left) and 2220817852 at Croydon Road / Langley Road (below right) the adjudicator ruled the boxes to extend beyond the junction. In the York St example reference was made to it being a "cars length" beyond the junction.
In general it seems that adjudicators accept that if the box runs beyond the junction slong the straight portion of the kerb that it is too long. For example the box below in Ealing extends well beyond the junction (but is still being enforced).
In such cases is not clear if adjudicators consider the whole box to be illegal or just the extra portion. And it is not clear if you vehicle would need to be in that part of the box in order to win the appeal. IMO it would render the whole box illegal as motorists must make a judgement of the whole length of the box before proceeding, however, adjudicators may disagree.
If your ticket was issued at a box that extends beyond the junction, you can appeal on this basis however it will be a stronger case if your vehicle was stopped on that extended part. My advice is to take a google satellite screenshot of the location and draw the extended area. Attach this to your appeal. Here is some text for appeal:
Schedule 7, Part 9, 11 (6) of the TSRGD 2016 sets out the permitted locations for yellow boxes and this states it must be "(a) at a junction between two or more roads" The attached image shows that this box extends beyond the junction and is thus not "at" a junction. Please see case references 2170285940 as an example of a previous case won on this point in which the adjudicator stated: "A “box junction” means an area of the carriageway where the marking has been placed and which is at a junction between two or more roads. Markings which extends beyond the junction of two or more roads do not therefore mark out a box junction covered by the prohibition. I am in no way suggesting that the Authority has to be inch perfect but, in my view, extending the box junction by a car length or more beyond the actual junction is neither compliant nor substantially compliant with requirements.”
Your view of the box
In order to avoid stopping in a box, you need to be able to see it, where it ends and if there is enough space on the exit to fit your vehicle. Of crucial importance is the fact it is the view from the drivers seat and NOT the camera view high in the air that is relevant. This is a view shared by the ex Chief Adjudicator (TPT outside London), Caroline Sheppard, who said: "It will be critically important for authorities to think about what the driver – not the camera – can see when reviewing the footage before issuing a box junction penalty’". Also In the following cases the adjudicator noted that the camera view is different to the drivers view 2210592927, 221084559A and 2220071013. There are many factors that affect visibility which I list below for you to check if any apply to your case. If you have dash cam footage, great, otherwise you can use google street view or you may have to return to site to take photos.
3. Could you see the box before you entered it?
There are 4 main reasons why people don't see the box before they enter it.
In the examples below you can see that the boxes are completely covered by the vehicles in front. Obviously there will be a point at which the box does emerge from the ground beneath, but in congested traffic conditions when travelling close to other vehicles you may not have had enough time to see it, react and stop before being on top of it.
Dash cam footage from the event is obviously the best way to prove this, however for many this won't be an option. The CCTV needs to show your entry into the box. If it shows there are vehicles close in front of yours and if you can combine this with a photo or video of your own from going back to the site, this will be helpful.
Whilst many roadmarkings need to be made out of what is called a retroreflective material that reflects light and makes them easier to see at night, amazingly yellow boxes don't. This means they are difficult to see at night and in the rain. Below are some photo examples:
3. The road layout
In the example below the 'camber' ie the vertical alignment of the road effectively renders the yellow box on the far side of the road invisible from the drivers eye view.
In the example below the distance of the box from the stopline and layout renders it very difficult to see.
4. Faded lines
Faded lines caused by poor maintenance are one of the main causes of drivers getting stuck in yellow boxes. Consider the drivers view compared to the camera view below. Please see here for some examples of cases won on the issue of poor maintenance.
If you were unable to see the box before you entered it due to one or more of the above factors, my advice is to return to the site to take photos or video. Here is some text for appeal:
I was unable to see the yellow box before I entered it. My view was obscured by other vehicles/the dark/the rain/glare/fades lines/the road alignment and I was not able to see it until I was effectively on top of it by which time it was too late I did not knowingly enter a yellow box junction and therefore I have not breached the relevant regulation. The camera view does not show the drivers view, tt gives a far more favourable view than I was able to see.. It is not possible for me to show the actual drivers view at the time, however please find attached a photo/video from site giving an idea.
4. Could you see exactly where the box ended before you entered it?
You may be able to see there is a box, however you also need to be able to see exactly where it ends. In this instance the above factors would also apply however "congestion" would not. This is because it is the responsibility of the driver to hold back and wait until the cars in front have cleared the box before entering it.
The length of the box and the road layout can play an even more crucial part when it comes to seeing the end of the box. In the example below you can see that the traffic island hides the box from right turners.
In the example below, although you can make out there is a box, you can't tell if it also covers the far side of the junction and exactly how far it goes, even when on top of it and despite the fact it is freshly painted.
One of the most successful appeal reasons is based on not being able to see where the box ends due to faded lines. The photos below show a comparison of the image from a ticket v the camera from a successful appeal. The driver in question went back to site to obtain a photo
If you were unable to see exactly where the box ended my advice is to return to the site to take photos or video. Here is some text for appeal:
Due to the size of the yellow box/the layout/faded lines,/the dark/the rain, I was unable to see where the yellow box ended when I entered it. The camera view does not show the drivers view, tt gives a far more favourable view than I was able to see.. It is not possible for me to show the actual drivers view at the time, however please find attached a photo/video from site giving an idea.
5. Could you see the exit?
It's not just that you need to be able to see the box and where it ends, you need to see if there is space for your vehicle to fit after it ends. In some locations buildings or other elements may obscure your view.
If you were unable to see the side of the yellow box, I suggest you attach an image from google street view or your own site photo and annotate it to show the view. Here is some text for an appeal:
I judged to the best of my ability that the exit side was clear and there was sufficient space for my vehicle to fit. However the attached image shows that the junction layout means visibility to the exit is obscured by a building.