Bulgaria has emerged as the most perilous country for driving in the European Union, with the highest death rate from road traffic accidents, according to preliminary data released by the European Commission for 2023.

Bulgaria’s Road Safety Challenges:

The European Commission’s data reveals a stark reality: Bulgaria’s road safety situation has worsened, surpassing last year’s leader in road fatalities, Romania. With 82 road accident deaths per one million inhabitants, Bulgaria’s roads have become increasingly treacherous compared to the previous year’s figure of 78 deaths per million.

European Road Safety Landscape:

While the EU has seen a marginal decrease in road accident fatalities, with approximately 20,400 deaths in 2023, certain countries are making progress towards meeting the EU and UN target of halving road deaths by 2030. Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, and Poland are among those on track to achieve this goal.

Road Safety Trends and Challenges:

The data highlights that rural roads remain the most dangerous, accounting for 52% of road traffic deaths, followed by urban areas (38%) and motorways (9%). Additionally, cyclists continue to face significant risks, constituting 10% of all road fatalities, with insufficient infrastructure and hazardous behaviors contributing to their vulnerability.

Demographic Patterns:

Men make up the majority of road traffic fatalities (77%), with individuals over 65 years of age at a heightened risk despite comprising only 21% of the population. Young adults aged 18 to 24 also face disproportionate risks, accounting for 12% of road deaths.

Policy Proposals and Future Outlook:

Despite efforts to address road safety concerns, proposed changes to driver education and licensing regulations face hurdles, delaying their implementation ahead of the upcoming European elections in June.

As Bulgaria grapples with the alarming surge in road traffic deaths, urgent measures are needed to improve road safety infrastructure, enhance driver education, and mitigate risky behaviors on the roads.