Decision date: 2 June 2008 Statutory Register entry: The Appellant argues that the box junction road marking does not comply with diagram 1043 in the Traffic Signs Regulations 2002 in two respects.
First, he says that the diagram prescribes that the cross-hatched markings must be marked at 90 degrees to each other. I reject this submission. To the naked eye it may be that the markings in the diagram are at 90 degrees to each other, although I have not applied a protractor to the angles nor do I consider it appropriate to do so. If the draftsman had wished to be prescribe that the angle must be 90 degrees, he would in my view have expressly indicated as much by marking that angle on the diagram. There are other dimensions marked on the diagram, including angles; and throughout the Regulations dimensions are expressly marked on many of the diagrams.
It is true that the Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 5 2003 at page 79, in providing an illustration to assist local authorities in setting out the marking, shows an angle of 90 degrees. The Traffic Signs Manual, however, is not the law; it is merely advice to assist local authorities in the correct use of signs and road markings. The legal position is as I have described: that the Regulations do not prescribe 90 degrees.
The marking in this case plainly presents as a cross-hatched area. The Appellant argues that the marking is confusing. I do not agree. No one could be in any doubt that the marking was of a box junction, and I do not believe that the Appellant was.
The Appellant's second point is that the marking is incomplete. I take him to be referring to what appears to be a short break in one of the cross-hatch lines where there is a manhole cover and surrounding making good. This does not affect the overall picture of the box and could not possibly mislead anyone.
I am accordingly satisfied that the marking complies with the statutory requirements.
As to this incident, the facts are that the Appellant's vehicle did stop in the box junction due to the presence of stationary vehicles. His vehicle simply followed a white van into the junction. The white van stopped just beyond the junction and the Appellant's vehicle came to a halt behind it. It is therefore clear that the contravention occurred.
The Appellant puts forward mitigation, relating to the circumstances in which he says he came to commit the contravention. Mitigation is not a ground on which I could allow an appeal. In any event, I do not consider there are mitigating circumstances. The whole point of the prohibition is that motorists should not enter the junction in anticipation of the traffic ahead keeping moving and so being able to clear it without stopping. Motorists should not enter the junction unless their exit is clear and therefore they will be able to clear the junction without stopping. In fact, it is not the case, as the Appellant contends, that a bus pulled out into the passing lane causing the white van to brake sharply. The bus had already stopped before the Appellant entered the junction; he simply followed the white van across it.