Watch as police in unmarked HGVs catch dangerous drivers on M6 in Lancashire

Police officers are going undercover behind the wheels of unmarked lorries on the M6 to catch dangerous drivers this week.

In a week of action starting today (Monday, June 13), Lancashire Police and four other forces will take part in Operation Vertebrae, which will see officers patrolling the motorway in unmarked lorries.

From their elevated viewpoint in the HGV cabs, officers are able to spot those driving dangerously on the motorway.

Drivers caught flouting the law will be filmed and ticketed through the post or pulled over, with punishments ranging from warnings to fixed penalty notices, court summons and even arrest.

In addition to the HGV cab patrols, officers will be carrying out vehicle checks with other agencies at motorway services, such as the DVSA, Health and Safety Executive, HMRC and the Home Office and Immigration Enforcement.

The campaign takes place along the length of the M6, the longest motorway in the country, and so has been labelled Operation Vertebrae.

With almost 180 incidents reported on the M6 every day, it is hoped the week of action will help reduce the number of accidents on the motorway.

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From Monday, June 13 to Sunday, June 19, police will be patrolling the M6 in unmarked HGVs to catch dangerous drivers, such as this van driver who was caught talking on his phone

In new footage released today, a van driver is seen talking on his phone and looking at his sat-nav as he travels along the A500 in Stoke-on-Trent.

He transfers the phone to his left hand and picks up a drink in his right hand, leaving just two fingers on the wheel.

But he then takes both hands completely off the wheel to put down his drink and move the phone back to his right hand.

Still chatting away on his phone, the driver remains oblivious to the fact he is being filmed as he takes the exit off the A500 - followed by police travelling behind who had been alerted by officers in the National Highways HGV cab.

The unmarked HGV cabs are being used by police to target dangerous drivers on the M6 between Monday, June 13 to Sunday, June 19

Other footage shows the moment a driver who is not wearing his seatbelt is spotted by Warwickshire Police. He was followed off the motorway by police officers travelling behind and dealt with.

National Highways say these are the latest in over 28,000 offences which have been recorded by police officers using unmarked HGV cabs since the national safety initiative was launched.

These include a large number of traffic collisions with 3,484 reported on the M6 in 2021 - despite the impact of lockdown at the start of the year.

The most common offences are not wearing a seatbelt (8,375), using a mobile phone (7,163) and not being in proper control of a vehicle (2,083).

National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Roads Policing Operations, Commander Kyle Gordon, said: “We have collaborated with National Highways on the Operation Tramline roads safety initiative for many years.

"We all recognise that being distracted while driving increases the risk of a collision and the potential to leave families and communities devastated, particularly with the sheer size and weight of some of the larger vehicles on our roads.

"We really welcome the opportunity to identify any driver who would put themselves and others at risk by being distracted, it is totally unacceptable.”