MORE than 400 vehicles were stopped by police officers patrolling the M62 in National Highways’ unmarked HGV cabs during a month of action.  

Operation Pennine saw police forces travel the route between Liverpool and Hull in the HGVs on the look-out for unsafe driving during the period in which they hired the cabs. 

Each force used the unmarked HGV cabs during their own weeks of action throughout the month of October and helped stop a number of potential accidents, halting rule-breaking drivers in their tracks. 

Officers from Cheshire, Merseyside, Liverpool Ports Police, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire stopped a total of 435 vehicles and uncovered 375 offences.

READ > Police update after 'attempted rape' arrest

The North West Commercial Vehicle Unit was also on hand to patrol various stretches of the M62.

National Highways, police forces and other partner agencies, including TyreSafe, were also on hand at several service stations along the M62 to give drivers advice.

The most common offence was drivers using their mobile phone at the wheel – 86 in total.  

Moreover, 34 people were found to have not been wearing a seatbelt, while 49 were found to have breached the rules around driving hours. 

From the elevated position in the HGV, officers can spot unsafe driving behaviour – whatever vehicle the motorist may be in. 

Hundreds of thousands of drivers travel on the M62 every day, and in 2022 there were 28,607 incidents on the M62. Of those 28,607 incidents, 1,651 were traffic collisions. 

The 435 vehicles stopped during the month of action included 175 HGVs and 96 private vehicles. 

The North West Commercial Vehicle Unit was able to recover a £15,000 civil penalty issued in relation to a people smuggling case.

Lisa Scott, National Highways’ regional safety programme manager for the north west, said: “Hundreds of thousands of motorists travel on our network each day – the majority of which complete their journeys legally and safely.  

“However, there is a minority that continue to put themselves and others at risk.

“It is disappointing that almost 400 offences were spotted during the month of action – but thanks to Operations Pennine and Tramline, those drivers were prevented from continuing with their unsafe behaviours.”

Sergeant Matt Picton, from the North West Commercial Vehicle unit, added: “This month of action has shed some light on just how many drivers on our roads are willing to take risks that could have serious consequences.

“Operation Pennine saw hundreds of drivers stopped for a wide variety of reasons – all which could have contributed to a serious, maybe even fatal, accident. 

“Using a mobile phone, no seat belt, speeding, poor mechanical condition, breach of drivers' hours, over loaded vehicles are all things that can be eradicated from our roads if people just stop and think before they act.   

“We are committed to making all roads safer and we will continue to enforce road traffic legislation daily and target those who risk the most harm to the public who just want to go about their daily business without fear of injury or death.”