Bulgarians have been witnessing an escalation in the number of cases of offenders on the road with multiple violations, who get behind the wheel after using alcohol or narcotic substances, the Prosecutor's Office warned during a specialized forum in Sofia dedicated to road safety. The Road Safety Institute says that the institutional efforts in the prevention of road accidents can be combined in a Road Map outlining specific actions and deadlines. Its implementation will take 2 years but it is extremely necessary, as the statistics for the period January 2019 to October 2022 are shocking - 2,072 people lost their lives in accidents, the head of the institute Bogdan Milchev pointed out.
"We are confident that in the first year of implementation the number of victims of traffic accidents will be reduced by 50 to 100 people. The map is based on 6 main pillars. These include structural, organizational, legislative and anti-corruption measures, creation of risk management standards, a new road traffic act, etc.,” Milchev said.
Deputy Prosecutor General Krasimira Filipova called for more effective control and for preventive measures against risky drivers, in order to reduce the need for the intervention of the judicial system that starts its work after a crime has already occurred.
"Changes are possible both in the Penal Code and the Road Traffic Act, which will bring an effective result in a very short period of time. We believe that confiscation of a motor vehicle would have a serious effect, together with a fine or imprisonment provided for in the Penal Code. Whether for a misdemeanor or a crime, punishment must be inevitable.”
"However, the problem with testing for alcohol and drugs remains serious, as drivers have the right to refuse giving a blood sample, but choose just an ordinary drug test," lawyer Kostadin Uzunov, former head of the administrative unit of the Traffic Police in Pazardzhik said in an interview with BNR. "It is necessary to introduce a mandatory blood test in cases when an accident with victims has occured."
There is control, but no punishment
Constitutional judge Atanas Semov said the large number of deaths caused by traffic accidents was a form of genocide caused by administrative inaction and absolutely incompatible with any notion of European normality, pointing out two major problems in our behavior on the road:
"One is the refusal to respect the law, typical of our mentality. We are the country in Europe where the feeling of impunity prevails to the greatest extent. The truth is that there are sanctions envisaged, there is also control, although not completely sufficient, but there is no punishment imposed. In 2022, more than half a million traffic tickets issued for violations were not handed out and the collection rate from the handed ones is about 40%. This means that just 25 percent of the established road violations in this country are sanctioned. The second problem is the poor organization of road traffic and the enormous number of dangerous restrictions throughout the country. Road repairs are the other absurdity - two tunnels on the Hemus highway have been under repair for 6 years."
Chairman of the Road Safety Institute, Bogdan Milchev, says that so far the state and its institutions have not been able to deal with the war on the roads, because they are not fighting against the violations, but against each other:
"Within two weeks, we will organize a citizens' initiative in the form of a petition, in order to force the Bulgarian government to see the road map and start working on it," he said.
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