A total of 571 people have died in road accidents in Bulgaria so far in 2014 and the figure is expected to be more than 600 by the end of the year, Interior Minister Vesselin Vuchkov said in a statement ahead of November 16, the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
He said that so far in 2014, a total of 7412 people in Bulgaria had been injured in road accidents, with the most vulnerable group being pedestrians aged over 64.
Bulgaria has hardly made progress in reducing the number of victims of road accidents, Vuckov said.
The EU had set the goal of reducing the number of road traffic victims by 20 per cent by the year 2020. But in Bulgaria, the rate had been increasing this year.
He said that there had been a positive trend in reducing casualties on the road. From 2008 to 2014, the number of fatalities on the roads annually had decreased from 1200 to 600.
“We need very good prevention activities and awareness campaigns,” Vuchkov said.
The Penal Code repeatedly had been amended to increase the penalties for those guilty of causing road deaths and injuries.
“With a comprehensive effort, we really hope to have progress and achieve even more impressive results. Persistence and perseverance are needed continuously,” Vuchkov said.
In June 2014, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio reported a survey showing that 84 per cent of Bulgarians saw road travel as unsafe with a high risk of accidents, with 76 per cent holding that the government had failed to do enough to solve the problem.
In 2013, the rate of road deaths in Bulgaria per million residents was 82, while across the European Union, the rate was 52 in a million.
Daniel Vankov, who was involved in a campaign to improve driving standards among young Bulgarians, told BNR at the time, “my personal opinion is that most drivers have good driving etiquette. But the problem is the five to 10 per cent who have no driving culture. We seem them everywhere, because they are people with good financial resources and less fear of the law”.
(Photo: Jason Conlon)