Proposals are being put forward in Bulgaria to hugely increase penalties for motorists refusing to have their blood-alcohol levels tested.
The proposals, currently doing the rounds in Parliament, come against a background of drink-driving being the cause of many of Bulgaria’s serious road accidents. The other major leading causes, according to official reports in the past year, are speeding and overtaking when it is unsafe to do so.
Proposals include fining motorists who refuse blood-alcohol tests from 2000 leva (about 1000 euro) upwards and suspending their driving licences for two years.
According to television station bTV, proposals for these and other measures against dangerous driving in Bulgaria could be law this summer.
Other proposals include large increases to the penalty for drink-driving.
Recent experience shows that increasing fines for driving offences leads to a decrease in such offences between two and five per cent, going by official statistics.
Given the increase in the number of motorists caught driving under the influence of alcohol but not owning the car, authorities are discussing a new penalty that would see the car confiscated from its owner for a month.
Similarly, a car owner who allows someone without a driving licence to take the wheel would also face confiscation of the car for a month.
Sofia traffic police chief Bogdan Milchev supported the idea of higher fines but said that it was important that the fines were actually collected.
Traffic police reported that the introduction of electronic payment of traffic fines had improved compliance because the sum owed was reduced if paid promptly.
Pedestrians, meanwhile, also face higher penalties for jaywalking. Those who cross the street at a place other than a zebra crossing would be fined between 10 and 20 leva and pedestrians who jump fences and hand-railings would be liable to a fine of 50 leva.
(Photo: Peter Suneson/sxc.hu)