June 23. 2024. 12:44

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Number of drugged drivers skyrocket in Bulgaria

Police caught almost 70% more drugged drivers in the first three months of the year than they did in the previous three, while the increase for drunk drivers was much less (5%), the head of the traffic police, Dimitar Michev, said on Tuesday.

Since the start of the year, 2,400 people have been caught driving under the influence of alcohol and 1,200 under the influence of drugs. Police have doubled down on drunk and drugged drivers in the past year, particularly after two young women died in a serious accident in the centre of Sofia where the driver tested positive for multiple drugs.

A large part of the drivers involved in accidents have used alcohol or drugs, according to the data of the Bulgarian police. Since the start of the year, 349 serious accidents have been checked, and in 65% of cases, the drivers used alcohol, in 20% – drugs, and in 15 accidents – alcohol and drugs simultaneously.

At the same time, more people are refusing to take drug tests, particularly as the devices of the Bulgarian police often report wrong results.

A blood sample must be tested for confirmation or rejection, but very few hospitals do this. The results of the blood tests are delayed for months, during which time the suspect can suffer various consequences – from licence suspension to arrest and criminal charges.

Bulgaria traditionally has a very big problem with road safety, which is explained by the poor roads compared to other EU countries and police corruption.

According to Eurostat data, the fewest victims in road accidents in 2022 were in Sweden and Denmark (21 and 26 deaths per one million inhabitants), while the number of victims was the highest in Romania and Bulgaria (respectively 86 and 78 per million inhabitants). The EU average is 46 deaths per million inhabitants.

(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)