I. Introductory Words
The idea of making roads safer is one of the few consensus ideas unreservedly accepted throughout the world. The mission to reduce the number of victims and victims of traffic accidents is a priority for all governments and international organizations!
In Bulgaria, we have all witnessed over the last few years, the enormous efforts of executive and legislative power to limit the damage from road traffic injuries. Despite these efforts, our country is the only one in the European Union that has not improved its road safety performance for seven years and its level of emergency is at the level of it was at in 2011.
II. The current situation in Bulgaria
The inability of the state to effectively counter the road traffic injuries in the country is conditioned by the following factors:
● many state institutions are responsible for Road Safety in Bulgaria. Responsibility is therefore shared. Interaction and coordination between them is of key importance, but this is where an organizational and legislative deficit is found here;
● collecting information on crashes, analyzing it and proposing measures to limit road traffic accidents is carried out by a state authority (Ministry of Interior Affairs), which is contrary to good practices for analysis and counteraction to road traffic injuries;
● the control over the activities of the institutions responsible for Road Safety is carried out by themselves.
There is no mechanism for external audit of their activity:
● information on the causes of the occurrence of an accident is exported to the public space incorrectly, with the different institutions transferring their responsibilities;
● there is no system in place to assess the actual losses of road accidents, which seriously discourages investment in this direction;
● the inclusion of the Traffic Safety Fund within the budget of the Ministry of Interior Affairs significantly reduced its use;
● research is reduced to a minimum and slowing down the implementation of good world traffic safety practices.
There is no mechanism developed to finance traffic-related projects:
● for the accepted international standard for road safety ISO 39001: 2012 „Traffic Safety Management Systems“, there are found insufficient effective practices for its implementation;
● the responsibilities of local authorities, heads of organizations and institutions on traffic safety, etc. are not specified;
● no measures are envisaged to counteract the reverse trend for the increase of crashes. The only package of measures that has the potential to counteract increased risks is to increase control over compliance with traffic rules. This control has been greatly reduced because of the fight against road corruption;
● there is no single action plan.
II. Our idea
The establishment of Road Safety Institute in Bulgaria as an independent non-governmental organization is in order to unite the expertise potential of the civil society in the country and to support the institutions’ work on the problems of the road safety.
The study of world practice shows that national Road Safety institutes operate in most European countries and the United States. They fully manage road safety processes by monitoring the institutions’ activities, analyzing primary information on the subject, actively interacting with citizens and all stakeholders to provide effective solutions to existing problems. They are a kind of bridge for good practice at a national and supranational level.
The establishment of the Road Safety Institute was recommended to Bulgaria by the United Nations and the World Bank. We believe that by creating Road Safety Institute we will contribute to overcoming the current negative situation in the country and we will become a key element in the fight for the reduction of the victims and the victims on the road.
IV. Objectives, tasks, and structure
● Increasing the level of the road safety in the country; ● Pooling the expertise potential in the field of the road safety; ● Building and developing international contacts, exchange of experience and good practices; ● Generate, maintain and distribute information resources related to the road safety issues; ● Supporting the activities of state authorities and institutions in the field of the road safety and scientific research.
● Conduct continuous monitoring of the activities of all the institutions responsible for the road safety; ● Preparation and dissemination of reports analyzes and studies on the state of the road safety and the effectiveness of the counteraction of road traffic injuries; ● Objective analysis of crashes and the reasons for them; ● Drawing up concepts and strategies for the implementation of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and international standards in organizations involved in road traffic.
Support and provision of information and statistics
● Participation in or organization of international seminars and conferences under the road safety; ● Implementation of training and promotion initiatives; ● Drafting opinions on draft road safety policies; ● Development and maintenance of an information site and mobile applications for the road safety; ● Implementation of a media project in the field of the road safety.