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Safe participation in the movement is a joint responsibility of its creators, organizers and users. Road safety policy should also be implemented through sectors such as energy, environment, healthcare, science and education, new technologies, insurance, trade, etc. Shared responsibility requires concrete action by state institutions, regional and municipal authorities, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society. Road safety is measured by indicators of road accidents and related causes and consequences. In the EU countries, the national statistical offices provide certain standardized information on road safety, which is mainly used to analyze the situation in the Bulgaria-Romania TGR.

Despite the standardization of information within Eurostat, there are national peculiarities that presuppose the way the analysis is performed. After collecting information and data on road safety in TGR Bulgaria-Romania, the following specific features were identified:

  • In Romania, there is a longer statistical order of basic information related to road accidents, those killed and injured in road accidents, their causes, etc. It started from 1997-1999, while in Bulgaria such information has been published since 2006.
  • Unlike Romania, where the disaggregation of road safety information at the regional level covers only a few indicators – the number of accidents and casualties – total, killed and injured, in Bulgaria these indicators are much higher and in addition to those for Romania also contain data on the number of victims at the municipal level, distribution of road accidents at the district level by settlements, types of settlements – towns and villages, outside settlements, months and days of the week, etc. and to the victims by age structure, by day of the week, etc.
  • The scales in the two countries are different. In 2017, the population in the eight districts of Bulgaria was 1376170 people, while in Romania the seven districts of TGR have a population of 3161902 people, which is about 2.5 times more. In addition, the share at the national level is different. In Bulgaria this share is 20% for 2017, while in Romania it is 14%.

The main problems related to road safety and transport conditions in the cross-border area are worn out and irrelevant to modern conditions transport infrastructure, lack of highways, the presence of old and worn vehicles and last but not least non-compliance with traffic rules and unsatisfactory control in this regard.

In order to ensure road safety and improve transport conditions for all modes of transport, concerted action is needed on both sides: Romania and Bulgaria in several main areas:

  • Rehabilitation and modernization of the transport infrastructure (road infrastructure, railway, port infrastructure);
  • Construction / completion / of motorways;
  • Construction of intelligent transport systems (ITS);
  • Strengthening the control activities on the road arteries mostly through passive measures through control equipment.

A cross-border problem that has an additional negative impact on traffic safety and transport conditions is the fact that the existing transport network in the cross-border region Bulgaria-Romania does not provide good connectivity between the two countries and easy access of the border areas to the two TEN-T the corridor connecting Central and Northern Europe with the southeastern part of the continent and the Middle East.

The connection of the regional transport infrastructure with the main national corridors is also insufficient. This leads to congestion and rapid wear of the existing connecting infrastructure and increases the risk of accidents and other transport accidents.

To improve connectivity and increase the level of transport safety in the region requires joint efforts of the two countries in the following priority areas:

  • Construction of new transport connections (bridges over the Danube) between Bulgaria and Romania;
  • Construction, reconstruction and modernization of ferry connections (including port infrastructure);
  • Improving the capacity of the border checkpoints between Bulgaria and Romania, especially at the Danube bridge “Ruse – Giurgiu”;
  • Improving navigation on the Danube River;
  • Construction of the Danube Panoramic Road – reconstruction and repair of the road sections parallel to the river from Vidin to Silistra and improvement of the infrastructure in the Romanian part of the road infrastructure;
  • Construction of a bicycle route and bicycle lanes along the coast from Vidin to Silistra – Danube bicycle path (part of the trans-European bicycle lane along the Danube).

To ensure road safety and optimize transport conditions in the cross-border region, coordinated and coordinated actions by Romania and Bulgaria are needed to formulate and implement policies in the transport sector at national, regional and local levels. Such targeted joint efforts will reduce the number of accidents, build and develop modern transport infrastructure and increase the attractiveness of the region.

Lost lives on European roads due to road accidents are still one of the most dangerous and costly phenomena for people in the EU, even in 2020. Since the first EU target to reduce road deaths has been introduced in 2001, the three baltic states achieved the highest reductions. Latvia reduced the number of road deaths by 76% and Lithuania and Estonia by 74% (Fig. 1). They are followed by Spain and Luxembourg with a 69% discount and Ireland with a 66% discount. However, progress has been slow in Romania with a 24% decrease, Bulgaria with a 38% decrease and the Netherlands with a 39% decrease:

Figure 1. Relative change in road deaths between 2001 and 2019 (source: 14th report on the road safety index, EC, 2020)

Since the EU’s first target for reducing road deaths was introduced in 2001, the three Baltic states have achieved the largest reductions. Latvia reduced the number of road deaths by 76% and Lithuania and Estonia by 74%. They are followed by Spain and Luxembourg with a 69% discount and Ireland with a 66% discount. However, progress has been slow in Romania with a 24% decrease, Bulgaria with a 38% decrease and the Netherlands with a 39% decrease.

In the EU27, the overall road death rate was 51 deaths per million inhabitants in 2019, compared with 68 per million in 2010. Mortality in IDU countries still varies by around four between the most high and lowest risk. Norway remains the leader among IDU countries with 20 deaths per million inhabitants, followed by Sweden and Switzerland with less than 22 deaths per million inhabitants in 2019. These countries are also among the leaders in terms of road risk. In Ireland, the United Kingdom and Malta, mortality is below 33 per million. The highest road deaths are in Romania and Bulgaria with 96 and 90 deaths per million inhabitants, respectively, in the table:

Table 1. Road deaths per million inhabitants in 2010 and 2019

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