M62 Closed due to fatal collision
A 25-year-old man remained at the scene after the accident and police arrested him on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, after which they took him into custody to question him.
The M62 between Eccles and Birchwood will be closed in both directions and remain closed through the morning as officers investigate.
National Highways North-West said there were delays of at least an hour eastbound on the motorway. There were also delays of up to 45 minutes on the M6 southbound approaching junction 21A.
Traffic England does not expect roads to clear until 2 p.m.
There is currently congestion to J10 with East Lancs Road, through Leigh, Atherton, Irlam and Partington completely gridlocked.
In a knock-on effect, adjoining motorways M56 and M61 are blocked with bus services also significantly delayed.
Police are urging drivers and motorists to avoid the area.
The M62 motorway is a 172 km west-east Motorway in Northern England connecting Liverpool and Hull via Manchester, Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield.
The motorway has an average daily traffic flow of around 144,000 vehicles in West Yorkshire, and several sections prone to gridlock, particularly between Leeds and Huddersfield and the M60 section around Eccles.
The M62 coach bombing of 1974 and the Great Heck rail crash of 2001 are the largest incidents to have occurred on the motorway.
The M62 coach bombing occurred on 4 February 1974, when a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb exploded in a coach carrying off-duty British Armed Forces personnel and their family members.
The tragedy killed 12 people (9 soldiers and 3 civilians) and injured 38, and the Hartshead Moor Services on the M62 westbound was used as a first aid post at the time. A permanent memorial was erected in 2009.
The Selby rail crash on 28 February 2001 occurred after Gary Hart, a sleep-deprived driver, swerved off the M62 onto the East Coast Main Line near Selby, North Yorkshire.
While he was calling the emergency services, a GNER southbound train collided with his Land Rover and derailed into the path of an oncoming freight train.
The devastating collision killed 10 people, including the drivers of both trains, and 82 others were seriously injured. Hart was convicted of 10 counts of causing death by dangerous driving and sentenced to five years in prison.
One key lesson learnt from the disaster was the risk posed to the railways by road vehicles and improvements to the barriers designed to keep them off.
However, Ali Chegini, Director of System Safety and Health at The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) said: "There is no hiding from the fact that the root cause of this accident was the level of fatigue in the Land Rover driver, Gary Hart."
He continued: "The accident contributed to the railway's understanding of how to make trains stronger and increase the chances of survival on-board."
Between 10 to 20 per cent of all crashes are estimated to be caused by driver fatigue, with one in eight drivers admitting to falling asleep at the wheel.
According to the RSSB, the risk of being killed in a train accident has reduced by 65 per cent between 2000/01 and 2019/20.
On 23 September 2019, Highways England joined up with six police forces, the Health and Safety Executive and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) on a month-long crackdown to increase the safety of the M62.
The plan involved Operation Pennine, where enforcement agencies carried out checks on vans and lorries for roadworthiness, secure loads and weight and drivers' hours to reduce the risk of incidents along the route.
The plan also had the HGV Supercab spend four weeks patrolling the motorway and record drivers committing safety offences such as mobile phone usage.
The project followed the success of a similar safety week on the M1 earlier that year which decreased the number of collisions by nearly a third.By
Kaja Traczyk is a reporter for the International Business Times UK and a Journalism Undergraduate with experience in news writing, reporting, and researching.