Police slow car races on roads

Illegal car races burning through the streets of Athens have prompted a police crackdown that has led to 28 arrests, sources told Kathimerini yesterday. Police chiefs recently ordered officers to plot the location of the car races on a map. Dozens of cars and hundreds of spectators are involved in the events, police said. Police discovered that the hot spots for races included the Nea Kifissia junction on the Athens-Lamia highway in northern Athens, the coastal road in Varkiza in southern Athens, the Limanakia area on Vouliagmenis Avenue and outside the Peace and Friendship in Neo Faliron in southern Athens. Attica police chief Assimakis Golfis told Kathimerini that the races posed a major danger for people, especially the spectators who congregate for the races, as well as unsuspecting passers-by who unwittingly drive into the high-speed rally. Also, large bets are often placed on the outcome of the races, sometimes leading to violent disputes between drivers, police said. Some 36,800 vehicles have been stopped during the last four months in connection with illegal street races, Attica police said. Officers recorded more than 14,000 violations and arrested 28 people. Police presence at the sites where the illegal races usually take place has forced organizers to relocate them. Sources said various spots in southeastern Attica are now proving popular for street racers but police intend to patrol the targeted sites over the next few days. Meanwhile, Transport Minister Michalis Liapis said yesterday that motorcyclists not wearing helmets will be subjected to stricter checks.