More than 400 vehicles stopped as officers in unmarked HGVs patrol M6 near Wigan
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Police officers caught 98 drivers using their mobile phones illegally at the wheel and 100 people not wearing seatbelts during Operation Vertebrae.
The initiative took place along the length of the M6, the longest motorway in the country.
National Highways deals with around 180 reported incidents on the M6 every day, including a large number of traffic collisions – 3,485 in 2021.
Five police forces took part, including Lancashire, Cheshire and Merseyside, as well as partners including the DVSA, Health and Safety Executive, HMRC, Home Office and Immigration Enforcement.
The DVSA alone stopped and inspected 249 vehicles and trailers, resulting in 282 defects and offences being identified.
Police stopped 412 vehicles using the unmarked cabs, supplied by National Highways, including 180 HGVs and 122 private vehicles.
Action taken ranged from words of advice or fixed penalty notices to traffic offences being reported and even six arrests.
The North West commercial vehicle unit recorded 97 offences across the five days – 11 of which involved drivers using a mobile phone at the wheel.
Around 41 drivers were handed graduated fixed penalty notices totalling £16,800 and a further five drivers given words of advice.
National Highways’ head of road safety Jeremy Phillips said: “Our goal, through exercises such as Operation Vertebrae, is to make our roads safer, whether that is by encouraging motorists to consider their driving behaviour or ensuring those that put people at risk are fully aware that they can be spotted and will be dealt with by our enforcement partners.
“It is always disappointing when we learn of drivers putting themselves and others at risk through unsafe driving such as using a mobile phone at the wheel.
"But through this week of action police were able to identify almost 400 offences and halt drivers who could have caused collisions and harm if they hadn’t been pulled over.”
Sgt Matt Picton, from the North West commercial vehicle unit, said: “This operation highlights the number of drivers that are willing to risk their lives and that of others.
"Having a driving licence comes with great responsibility and those that abuse that will be dealt with accordingly.
“Once again, this operation shows the blatant disregard of some drivers who choose to ignore the rules of the road and we will not tolerate those who do.
“Using a mobile phone, no seatbelt, speeding, poor mechanical condition, breach of drivers’ hours, overloaded vehicles etc are all things that can be eradicated from our roads if people just stop and think before they act.
“Far too many people are seriously injured or killed on Britain's roads and we will continue our work to reduce that number.”
Supt Mark Morley, of Lancashire Police, added: “Although the Op Vertebrae surge activity is over, we will continue to clamp down on dangerous drivers as part and parcel of our daily business and we, and partner agencies, will not hesitate to deal robustly and proportionately with those who break the law.”