The safety on the roads in Bulgaria is a topic on which the Bulgarian society, institutions, civil society and media do not disagree, just the opposite they stand decisively and unconditionally together. These are words from the address of the parliamentary Internal Security Committee Chairman Anastas Anastasov at the opening of the roundtable. The committee organized the event, together with the Ministry of the Interior. The forum aims at initiating a debate on the crucial issues related to the safety on the roads and the needed legislative amendments, at deepening the understanding of the enormous diversity of psychological, economic, political and social aspects of the problems related to safety.
The Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov noted that around a 1000 and more people yearly become victims of the "war" on the roads. He said the number of victims in the last 2 years is declining, but the measures taken so far are not sufficient.
Parents of dead or injured traffic accidents' victims insisted on the need to increase punishments for those who cause the accidents. They insisted on legislative amendments that would consider alcohol consumption, illegal high speed driving and damage inflicted on pedestrians while crossing at designated places an intentional (premeditated) crime. The Deputy Chief Prosecutor Valery Purvanov and the Chair of the parliamentary Internal Security Committee Anastas Anastasov further suggested crimes committed on the road intentionally to be put out of the scope of plea agreements with the prosecution. They proposed to reinstate the rule, existing in the past, foreseeing the possibility to detain from 5 to 15 days drivers under the influence or such driving without license as an administrative penalty.
The Interior Minister Tsvetanov promised to make public the proposals of the government regarding measures for road safety in 10 days. He said he will propose to the Chief Prosecutor to ban accused offenders or defendants in trials of deadly road accidents to leave the country. In cases of road accidents’ deaths plea agreements with the prosecution should be allowed either with the consent of the victim’s relatives or abolished entirely.
The Minister of Transport, Information Technologies and Communications Ivaylo Moskovski noted his ministry takes a number of measures to eliminate the purchase of drivers licenses and that it has reached 100% success. He noticed the problems on the road could only be solved with the concerted efforts of all institutions and non-governmental organizations in the country.
Among the proposals given by the victims’ families were to envisage a heavier sentence for offenders of more than one offences committed in one instance, for example: driving under the influence and committing a road accident on a pedestrian crossing; to put more bumpers and pedestrian crossings on the streets. They insisted that suspended sentences should not be given in cases of deadly road accidents, caused by the drivers.
The roundtable was attended by members of the parliamentary committees on legal affairs, internal security and public order,and on transport; by representatives of state institutions and civil organizations, as well as by relatives of road accidents’ victims.