The newly developed East Coast Road or ECR that runs from Chennai North to Karakal through Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry is known to cater to early morning rides on expensive motorcycles and with supercars. However, on 26th February, 2017, Chennai Police impounded 10 supercars which included a Ferrari, two Lamborghinis, a Mercedes-Benz and an Audi among others which were booked for rash as well as negligent driving.
It started around 7:00 AM on Sunday morning when these 10 cars, one of them being driven by a minister of Tamilnadu and another by a sports star were stopped and booked under the Indian Penal Code 279 (Rash and Negligent Driving) and 374 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety to others). After repeated complaints from residents of the East Coast Road area, the police had manned a check post which the supercar owners did not pay heed to when asked to stop. They sped away and were stopped at the next check post near Uthandi. The spat between the police and the supercar drivers began when the police stopped these cars at the first check post where a driver ran over the foot of a police officer, as per Chennai Police. The driver denied the allegation.
Video: Super cars seized after Illegal Racing at ECR Chennai (Video Courtesy: G Current News)
Police detained the cars and their drivers who neither showed their vehicle registration or other relevant papers nor allowing anyone else to drive these exotic cars as, according to them, driving these cars required special training. The vehicles were later moved to Kanagaraj Police Station. The police claimed that the unruly behaviour of some of the drivers delayed the release of the cars. The total cost of the cars that were impounded is estimated to be Rs 30 crores.
What went wrong and how it could have been avoided
Racing on public roads is illegal! Since, there are a couple of race tracks available in the country including Chennai, where the incident occurred, the supercar owners could have asked MMSC or Madras Motor Sports Club to have a track day. Including one make races conducted by mass market two-wheeler manufacturers and other events, the 3.74 km race track offers individual lifetime membership of Rs 10,000, which is a small amount considering that these supercars are not reasonable to afford or run. Also including the fact that the track has a width of 11 metres driving these cars for a track day would be easy and the club would not mind having a treat to such exotic vehicles.
East Coast Road is a scenic four-lane highway which is known for such notorious incidents. Some have proved to be fatal with injuries or deaths of multiple commuters. In September 2016, driver of a Porsche Cayman lost control of his car and collided into a couple of three-wheelers killing one auto driver and injuring six others. Such supercars do not require any special training as per the driver's licence rule in India, however, they are built for excessive speeds and one has to be cautious while driving such powerful cars.