IRRESPONSIBLE drivers who put lives at risk on the M6 are being warned ahead of a week-long crackdown.

National Highways and police forces across the region – including Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester – is targeting unsafe drivers along the length of the motorway during Operation Vertebrae.

They will be assisted by an unmarked HGV driven by police which has recorded more than 46,000 offences since being launched in 2015.

The most common offences are not wearing a seatbelt (13,562) and using a mobile phone (11,965).

The week of action on the M6 will take place from Monday, June 3, to Sunday, June 9, which aims to reduce the number of incidents on the motorway.

National Highways deals with more than 200 reported incidents on the M6 every day. It attended 74,960 on the road in 2023, including 3,808 crashes.

Matt Staton, head of national road user safety delivery at National Highways, said: “We know that the shocking examples identified by police in our unmarked cabs are carried out by a small minority.

“Thankfully, most of the drivers on our roads are part of the law-abiding majority.

“However, those who continue to take risks such as using their mobile phone at the wheel or other things that mean that their hands are off the wheel are putting themselves and others in danger.

“The week of action aims to make all of our roads safer by raising awareness and encouraging motorists to think carefully about their driving.

From their elevated viewpoint in the unmarked HGV cabs, police officers are able to spot people driving dangerously – whatever vehicle they may be in.

Consequences for drivers range from warnings to fixed penalty notices, court summons or arrest.

Sergent Matthew Picton, of Cheshire Police’s commercial vehicle unit, added: “People continue to take risks on the country’s roads which is totally unacceptable.

“Having a driving licence comes with great responsibility to keep people safe. We all have a duty of care to each other on our roads.

“Operation Vertebrae is designed to bring internal and external partners together to target those who pose a risk on our roads.

“We cannot simply accept that five people a day in the UK are killed and thousands of others are seriously injured.

“This is about both enforcement and education to target those drivers who refuse to change their behaviour.

“We will be out on the motorway and we will take action against those who make the wrong decisions.”