SPECIALIST traffic officers are to start patrolling the M62 from today.
The officers will be in marked cars with yellow lights on the top and work alongside the police to keep traffic flowing along 100 motorway miles including the M62, M606, M1 and M621.
All 40 officers in the county have been highly trained to work in such a potentially dangerous environment.
They will be directed by a new £7.8m regional traffic control centre near Wakefield.
The traffic officers' role is to sort out traffic problems. Their job includes:
* Escorting abnormal loads.
* Helping at crash scenes.
* Removing damaged or abandoned vehicles.
* Clearing debris from carriageways.
* Stopping traffic and closing roads, lanes and carriageways.
* Directing and diverting traffic.
The officers are employed by the Highways Agency.
It is part of the Government's plan to have traffic officers working on motorways nationwide by the end of 2006.
A Highways Agency spokesman said: "Where incidents occur, the police will still have responsibility for the investigation and, for major accidents, will be in charge of the scene.
"The Highways Agency traffic officers are not able to fine motorists, but it is an offence not to comply with their directions such as if they are closing a carriageway.
"The police will still enforce the law."
Roads Minister Dr Stephen Ladyman said: "The new traffic officers will improve services to motorists - making journeys more reliable and ensuring that time spent in jams is kept to a minimum."
Traffic congestion is thought to cost the country £3bn every year.