Bulgaria’s government approved on June 26 a decree establishing a National Road Safety Co-ordination Centre, as part of steps to reduce road traffic accidents by 2020.
The structure of the centre will include staff from the State Agency for Road Safety, the founding of which was approved by Bulgaria’s government in January.
When that January decision was announced, the State Agency for Road Safety was billed as set to take over some of the functions of various institutions among which responsibility for road safety is shared. The agency would “develop, co-ordinate and monitor” the implementation of road safety policy in Bulgaria, a government statement said at the time.
The government went on to appoint a head of the agency, Malina Krumova. Now, in June, acting on a proposal by Interior Minister Mladen Marinov and against the background of Bulgaria’s grievous road fatality rate – the second-highest in the European Union – the new centre is to be set up, including, apart from the State Agency for Road Safety Safety staff, representatives of the national police, fire safety and population protection directorate, Road Infrastructure Agency, and the Motor Vehicle Administration.
According to the June 26 government statement, the centre will “provide operational co-ordination and interaction between the relevant state structures in the implementation of preventive measures, temporary traffic organisation, co-ordination in complicated road and weather conditions, difficulties or blocking of traffic, and road accidents”.
The centre will work continuously – in 24/7 mode, the statement said.
“The goal is to provide employees with real-time alerts and information from all relevant institutions, and to perform common response actions after operational data processing.”
The centre will not be a separate legal entity and will be located in an Interior Ministry building. Additional funds will not be used to found it, and no additional jobs will be created, the government statement said.
According to Interior Ministry data posted on the morning of June 26, so far in 2019 there have been 2782 road accidents in Bulgaria, leaving 241 people dead and 3507 injured. The death toll is three higher than by the same date in 2018.