A DRIVER caught reversing down the M6 was among hundreds reported for motoring offences during a crackdown on the motorway.

More than 250 offences were discovered in a week of action by police and Highways England patrolling the M6 in the north west.

This included a man reversing back along a live lane at junction 18 for Northwich because he had overshot the exit.

A wide range of offences were spotted and dealt with, including a banned motorist with no insurance towing a trailer in lane three in Cumbria.

One of the most shocking though was the driver, who had no insurance or licence, found not wearing a seat belt along with a four-year-old child sat on someone’s lap in the car.

Unmarked Operation Tramline HGV ‘supercabs’ cabs, funded by Highways England and used by police forces across the country, played a key role in the multi-agency effort along the longest motorway in the country.

From their elevated viewpoint in the unmarked HGV cabs, police officers were able to spot people driving dangerously.

Failing to wear a seatbelt was the most common offence with 40 people seen risking their lives without the safety protection, while 22 drivers were caught using their mobile phone illegally, with one playing online poker and another FaceTiming his partner.

Police forces from Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and Merseyside made use of the HGV cabs, supported by additional patrols and vehicle stops by such partners as the DVSA and the North West Commercial Vehicle Unit.

The cabs stopped 207 vehicles, with action ranging from words of advice or fixed penalty notices to traffic offences being reported and even eight arrests.

The North West Commercial Vehicle Unit also stopped 85 HGV and LGVs. Of these, 45 offences were discovered such as unsafe tyres and breaches over the drivers’ hours and load weight.

Highways England deals with around 180 reported incidents on the whole of the M6 every day including a large number of traffic collisions – 4,222 were reported on the M6 in 2019. But the week of action, which ran under the banner of Operation Vertabrae, saw a reduction in the number of incidents and traffic collisions.

Highways England head of road safety Jeremy Phillips said: “Our aim through this week of action was to make not only the M6 but all of our roads safer by raising awareness and encouraging motorists to consider their driving behaviour.

“The HGV cabs helped the police to identify hundreds of dangerous drivers who could have caused collisions and harm if they hadn’t been pulled over. Our safety advice given at the motorway services and through the campaign also helped to make the M6 safer.

“We are confident that, working together with our road safety partners, this campaign has helped spread our safety messages to drivers but also raised awareness that those who engage in high risk behaviours can expect to be spotted and, if an offence has been committed, action will be taken by our enforcement partners.”

The number of incidents reduced during the campaign from 1,301 the week before to 1,287 while the number of traffic collisions fell 17 per cent from 71 to 59.