Road accidents in Sofia decreased by more than 2,000 in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period of 2019. According to Sofia Directorate of the Interior Ministry data for the period January–September, a total of 6,014 road accidents occurred compared to 8,081 in the previous year. This became clear during a meeting of the District Road Safety Commission. Meeting participants included Deputy Governor Zhivka Takeva-Parvanova, State Agency Road Safety Deputy Chairperson Anjelina Toteva, Sofia Municipality Deputy Mayor Kristian Krastev, representatives of the institutions involved, etc.

The report of the Traffic Police showed that there were 5,532 light road accidents (7,519 in 2019) and 482 accidents with casualties (562 occurred last year). Sofia Municipality representatives added that there was a reduction in traffic during the months of the state of emergency, but to date not only has traffic returned to last year’s levels, but has also exceeded them by nearly 20%. Around 100 thousand vehicles per day pass through the capital’s busiest crossings.

“The main focus must be to optimize all the forces and resources we have in the capital. At the same time, there is a need to improve and pool the data collected by each institution for the purpose of common qualitative analysis to serve effective prevention,” said Anjelina Toteva. In her words, it is also important to carry out a detailed analysis of each measure already at the planning level. “Sofia cannot be compared to any other locality in the country, either in terms of traffic intensity or problem complexity, but all of this must motivate us to seek the best and most effective solutions,” said SARS Deputy Chairperson.

The analysis of road traffic trauma shows that nearly 15% of all fatal pedestrian accidents in 2020 occurred in the territory of Sofia city. In this context, measures were discussed for much stricter control of citizens crossing at unregulated places and awareness-raising campaigns to make people aware of the consequences of their behavior. While kilometers of pedestrian barriers to prevent crossing at dangerous points are installed, they are permanently vandalized. Sofia Municipality teams work on a daily basis to replace them, which also prevents the faster securing of new crossings and sections.

Every serious accident is visited on site by a team of Sofia Municipality and measures are planned and taken to improve safety. This was made clear by the report of local authorities. A separate road safety unit has also been set up exercising ex ante control of every infrastructure project. They also carried out more than 60 checks, following alerts since the beginning of the year, and took remedial action. According to Sofia Municipality data, in 2020 alone, another 100 pedestrian crossings were additionally illuminated. Work is also underway to expand the possibilities to use the material from the municipality’s technical means (cameras, etc.) to detect infringements to be sent directly to Traffic Police for follow-up.

The established traffic management system in Sofia significantly improved the arrival time of the Emergency Service teams, as reported by the Center for Emergency Medical Assistance. A major problem remains the insufficient number of teams in the capital. Since the beginning of the year, they have responded to 1,516 reports of road accident victims. It also emerged from institutions’ reports that around 50 schools were or are being provided with road safety training sites, and the Regional Health Inspectorate teams have been working on alcohol and drug prevention with secondary school graders.
Fire Safety and Civil Protection support Traffic Police in peak hours at the city’s entrances and exits. This optimizes the response time in case of an incident. Their teams have responded to 89 road accidents since the beginning of the year, some of them having to cut vehicles open in order to extricate victims. Response promptness in fire fighting in the vicinity of road traffic was also reported, as smoke and reduced visibility are prerequisites for the occurrence of road traffic accidents.