More than 15 000 motorists were caught driving without a licence in roadside checks in 2018, Traffic Police chief Commissioner Rossen Rapchev said in a February 5 television interview.
In some cases, the drivers had not qualified for a licence, while in others, their licences had been suspended, he said.
More than 11 000 people had been sanctioned for drink-driving. Of these, 5700 had been caught driving with blood-alcohol levels of 1.2 promille, more than double the legal limit.
“Massive non-compliance leads to this absurd war on the roads. The sense of self-preservation of the Bulgarian is very low,” Rapchev said in the interview with bTV.
He said that action was being taken because of the frequent accidents involving pedestrians since the start of 2019. The action targets pedestrians crossing where they should not, as well as motorists who fail to stop at pedestrian crossings, Rapchev said.
Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry has posted for comment proposed new legislation on road traffic, including tougher limitations on recently-qualified motorists, and much higher penalties for breaking road safety laws.
In 2017, Bulgaria had the second-highest road fatality rate in the European Union, after holding top spot in the preceding years. The road fatality rate in EU countries for 2018 has not yet been released.
A total of 609 people died in accidents on Bulgaria’s roads in 2018, a figure 73 fewer than the road accident death toll in 2017. The year 2018 saw 6674 accidents on Bulgaria’s roads, and apart from the road deaths, a total of 8445 people were injured.