TWO-THIRDS of lorries carrying chemicals and other potentially dangerous loads on the M62 near Huddersfield were breaking the law.
The shock figures were revealed after police and Government experts carried out the safety blitz at Hartshead Moor service station on Wednesday.
Thousands of lorries carrying hazardous loads criss-cross the motorway network in West Yorkshire every day.
There are major chemical plants throughout the north of England, from Cheshire in the west to Hull and Teesside in the east.
Dangerous loads include cyanide, a poison called analine and chlorine.
A man who committed suicide by jumping off a motorway bridge near Rastrick a few years ago smashed through the windscreen of a tanker.
The tanker was filled with chlorine, but the badly shocked driver pulled over safely.
police and officials looked at drivers' documents, vehicle licenses, drivers' hours and vehicles' mechanical condition.
Some of the faults found were worrying.
One lorry, which was carrying 30 tons of a corrosive liquid, had no operator's licence. It was seized by the inspectors.
Another, carrying 30 tons of a corrosive and toxic liquid, had such badly-worn brakes it was not allowed to go any further until it had been repaired.
Fifty-three lorries were checked - and 36 had broken some law.
Six had such bad faults that the drivers were told to drive them straight to garages to be repaired.
Three had faulty brakes, two had suspension defects and one was leaking fuel.
Ten others had minor faults.
Six lorries were stopped from going any further because the orange Hazchem boards which should display details of the load were wrongly or inadequately marked. Three had insufficient firefighting equipment.
Twelve other drivers were given verbal warnings for more minor infringements.
Lorries carrying dangerous goods need to meet strict regulations and some have to carry personal protection equipment.
Chief Insp Gary Parker, of West Yorkshire police's regional operations division, said the blitz was part of a continuing campaign throughout the North.
A Hazardous Substances Liaison Group meets in West Yorkshire every three months. It includes organisations such as the police, the Transport Department, the Environment Agency and the haulage industry.
Chief Insp Parker added: "Everyone is keen to concentrate on the `cowboys' who are not as responsible as the main hauliers, who are extremely effective in maintaining safety standards."
Insp Brian Pearson, of the West Yorkshire Motorway Unit, said: "Experts from the chemical industry helped us to check the loads on Wednesday.
"The lorry operators know these events can happen any place and at any time."
He said drivers of vehicles carrying dangerous loads have to have special training.
"They should be highly qualified and the bigger companies are well on top of the job," said Insp Pearson.