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Bulgaria's 2010 road deaths the lowest in 44 years

The number of Bulgarians killed annually on the road has dropped below 800 for the first time in 44 years. Statistics from the Bulgarian traffic police (KAT) show that a total of 775 people died in 2010 – 119 less than the previous year. Police say that speed cameras, fines, displays of graphic images of traffic accidents and heightened control have all contributed to the drop in fatalities. According to official statistics, there were 6,583 accidents in 2010, in which 775 were killed and 8,043 were injured. The figures for 2009 were 7,014 accidents, in which 894 died and 8,599 were injured. This is in marked contrast to 2006, when there were 8,167 accidents, in which 1,036 people lost their lives and 10,143 were injured.

“Each driver should remember that the most important thing is to be safe and stay alive – not to outwit the traffic police, or the rules,” commented Alexi Kessyakov of the Interior Ministry Safety Commission. He also stressed the importance of educating young children from an early age about traffic safety. According to KAT, accidents involving pedestrians, or vehicles crashing into trees, have also decreased substantially.

The Bulgarian police are also confident that accidents will decrease further once new amendments to traffic legislation are accepted in their second reading in the National Assembly at the end of January. These effectively double the financial penalties for speeding. In a bid to increase road safety, speed cameras will be photographing vehicles that are exceeding the speed limit by 10km/h. Currently, they are set to register only violators traveling at 30km/h or more over the limit. According to KAT, traffic cameras caught more than 300,000 offenders from April to December 2010.

January 5, 2011

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