A total of 682 people have died in accidents on Bulgaria’s roads so far in 2016, according to official Interior Ministry statistics – exceeding the 680 deaths in 2015, and the totals of each year from 2011 onwards.
Interior Ministry statistics released on December 13, giving totals up to December 12, said that so far in 2016, there had been a total of 7066 road accidents, leaving – apart from the dead – 8902 people injured.
In 2015, there were 7296 accidents, with 8946 people injured.
The 2016 figure, so far, is highly unlikely to come close to the road deaths total of 10 years ago – in 2006, a total of 1043 people were killed in road accidents in Bulgaria.
There had been something of a trend of decreases in road deaths. The 2007 figure was 1006, in 2008 it was 1061, in 2009 it was 901 and in 2010, the figure was 776.
This was followed by 657 road deaths in 2011, 601 each in 2012 and 2013, and 660 in 2014.
Bulgaria, along with Romania, has the highest road death toll in the European Union.
Leading causes of road accidents in Bulgaria are speeding, overtaking where it is unsafe to do so, and drink-driving.
Bulgaria’s Parliament recently approved a series of stricter penalties for speeding and other violations of road traffic rules.
On Bulgaria’s inter-city motorways, the speed limit is 140km/h – the highest in the European Union. In the fast lane, exceeding even this high limit – mainly by motorists in high-powered expensive 4x4s and other luxury vehicles – is a commonplace sight, with scant evidence of enforcement of the speed limit.