"Working Together to Make Our Roads Safer – Enhanced Road Safety Governance and Good Practices" was the subject of a conference co-organised by the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior and the European Road Safety Charter (ERSC). The event, held on 2 October 2018 under the auspices of the recent Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, gathered in Sofia representatives of all national stakeholders having responsibilities to road safety in Bulgaria (state institutions, private sector and NGOs) with representatives of the European Commission, ERSC and leading experts from EU Member States.
The responsible Bulgarian Ministries and the European Commission’s representatives shared their strategic visions on the development of the road safety policies in the period 2020-2030, as well as specific recommendations, which should be taken into consideration in drafting the Bulgarian national strategy on road safety for that period.
‘Road safety is every person's right and responsibility; state institutions cannot reduce road traffic deaths and accidents if they act alone. Therefore, the civil society, professional groups, non-governmental sector, and academia participation in the joint efforts is of key importance,’ Minister of Interior Mladen Marinov said at the opening of the thematic conference.
His words were supported by the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, Rossen Jeliazkov, the Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, Malina Krumova, and the Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Tanya Mihaylova: ‘The complex, systematic approach and the coordination between state institutions as well as with the public sector represent significant factors for achieving the goal for safer roads. Each saved life is the most important indicator of the relevance of the common efforts.’
‘Road safety is a moral challenge for all of us,’ said Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director General of DG MOVE, who is appointed for EC’s High Level Coordinator for Road Safety as of 2 October 2018. He shared the view of the Bulgarian government representatives about an integrated approach to road safety management and presented the idea of an EU safe system, consisting of road safety management, safer infrastructure, safer vehicles, safer road users and post crash care.
The head of the team of the European Road Safety Charter and President of the Board of Directors of the Panos Milonas Road Safety Institute, Vasiliki Daneli-Milona, also voiced support for Bulgaria's efforts in the area: We go ahead learning from good practices together, because they are success indicators.
Experts from Austria, Finland and Hungary presented their national experience in forming road safety policies, the use of efficient evaluation tools and the implementation of specific practices for reducing the number of traffic offences.
Good practices at national level in Bulgaria were also presented – initiatives of the Road Infrastructure Agency, the Bulgarian Red Cross Organisation, Sofia Municipality, The Union of Bulgarian Drivers and Shell Bulgaria.
A common agreement was reached that integrated approach to road safety and shared responsibility at all levels are crucial in achieving the common goals to reduce the number of road deaths and serious injuries and to provide highest road safety standards.