A DRUNK driver was arrested after falling asleep at the wheel on the inside lane of the M6 clutching a bottle of vodka.
The vehicle came to a halt angled across two lanes of the northbound carriageway between junction 26 at Orrell and junction 27 at Standish at around 5.35pm on Sunday.
Officers from the North West Motorway Police Group found the man slumped at the wheel with the bottle of strong spirit in his hand.
The motorist initially told the police he had a health problem but failed a breath test and was detained after officers decided it was a case of drink-driving.
The driver, who officers described on the motorway police force’s Twitter feed as “heavily intoxicated”, was taken into custody in St Helens and the vehicle was removed from the carrigeway.
An account of the incident on social media drew an enormous response from outraged motorists, with a message about the arrest racking up more than 300 retweets.
Many of the responses were extremely angry and accused the driver of acting in an extremely irresponsible and stupid manner while others called for lengthy prison sentences for potentially endangering other road users.
Duncan burrow tweeted: “shocking behaviour, I can’t believe people think they can do and get away with this.”
Another social media user wrote: “Unbelievable! Lucky not to have caused an accident or driven off the high level section at Gathurst”.
The arrest comes in the wake of a crackdown on drink drivers across the region in which more than 100 people have already been arrested for drink driving in the first two weeks of the police’s festive crackdown.
Figures just released by Greater Manchester Police reveal between December 1 and 16 officers have breathalysed almost 3,000 motorists and 117 of those blew positive.
Thirty-nine of those arrested were breathalysed following a collision.
GMP joined forces with emergency services and Drivesafe at the end of last month to launch ‘None for the Road’.
Officers have been conducting breath tests around the clock and are set to continue throughout the festive season.
They are particularly keen to warn drivers not to drive the morning after the night before - especially tomorrow if you have been out celebrating Mad Friday.
Insp Matt Bailey-Smith from GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “The dangers of drink driving are well documented yet more than 100 people have chosen to ignore this advice and make a very selfish decision to get behind the wheel after a drink.
“It’s impossible to guess a ‘safe’ amount to drink if driving, which is why we advise avoiding alcohol altogether and having ‘none for the road’.
“Christmas is a time for family and friends and the last thing they want to deal with at this time of year is the loss of somebody they love because of something that could have been so easily avoided.”