Protesters across Bulgaria Demand Better Road Safety Measures


Sofia, May 21 (BTA/GNA) – With posters reading “Speed Kills” and “Stop the War on the Roads”, protesting citizens blocked the intersection of a boulevard and a street in Sofia, where on May 8 two young people died crossing the road.

People demand effective road safety measures and punishments for drivers who cause road accidents.

Protests were held on the roads of a number of other towns and cities across Bulgaria among which are Varna, on the Black Sea, Samokov, southwestern Bulgaria, Kazanlak, central Bulgaria, and Burgas, on the Black Sea.

The protests continue until people see real change from the responsible institutions, Georgi Todorov, one of the initiators of the protest in Sofia, told BTA.

The amendments to the Penal Code, adopted last Friday at first reading in Parliament, do not fully satisfy us, he said. Between the first and second readings, the dissatisfied citizens were expecting additions to fully introduce the “institute of road murder” into Bulgarian legislation, to criminalize driving at speeds exceeding the speed limit by more than 50 km/h, and driving without a licence. There is also a lot of work to be done on the Road Traffic Act. We insist on urgent measures, stressed Georgi Todorov.

The protesters call on the Interior Ministry to be on the field, to mobilize all its resources, equipment and personnel on the country’s roads, as this is currently, according to the organizers, a war that has been waged for decades on Bulgaria’s roads.

The number of the dead for the last 10 years is equal to a Bulgarian town, the injured are even more, so the Interior Ministry has a huge blame for what is happening on Bulgarian roads, because they do not operatively monitor compliance with the rules, do not exercise effective control, so whatever sanctions and punishments are talked about, they remain only good wishes if there is no effective control, Todorov concluded. On the part of the Interior Ministry there is the least cooperation compared to the institutions to which citizens have drawn attention to the problem, he said.

Since the beginning of 2023, 171 people have died in 2,152 serious car accidents, according to the website of the Interior Ministry. A total of 2,826 people were injured. More than 500 people died on the road in 2022, figures show.

On Friday, the National Assembly passed at first reading seven bills on changes to the Penal Code, some of which provide for tougher penalties for drunk, drugged drivers, and speeding.



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