Road safety regulations in Bulgaria include speed limits according to the type of road and vehicle and fines for speed limit violations. Observing these limits and driving safely is essential, as speeding significantly contributes to traffic fatalities in the country. Other regulations include the use of seat belts, strict rules for drinking and driving, and laws requiring the use of headlights during certain hours. It is also mandatory to have insurance and all the required documents while operating a vehicle in Bulgaria.
Use of Seat Belts & Car Seats for Kids
The use of seat belts and child restraint systems in Bulgaria is mandatory! Children under 12 may ride in the front seat only if seated in a child’s car seat.
The use of seat belts is not obligatory for:
- pregnant women
- persons whose physical status does not allow the use of safety belts
- taxi drivers when transporting passengers
- driving school instructors when driving a car for training/teaching purposes
Wearing a Safety Helmet While Driving in Bulgaria
Wearing a safety helmet is mandatory while driving/being on Mopeds, Motorcycles with/without a sidecar, Light and heavy tricycles, and Light and heavy quadricycles. This applies to both drivers and passengers. Child passengers under the age of 12 are not allowed.
Wearing a helmet is not mandatory for bicycle drivers/passengers.
Traffic Lights Regulations
An amber light precedes a red light. Drivers must stop at an amber light, except if the car is too close to the signaling device and cannot stop safely.
No turns on a red light.
If a traffic lane or alley is designated for particular vehicles, drivers of these vehicles are obliged to use this road or lane. In the cities, regular traffic should not drive on designated bus lanes.
A driver of a slow vehicle is obliged to drive on the farthest right lane except when turning or going around. If a road sign marks a lane for slow vehicles, drivers of such vehicles are obliged to use this lane.
It is prohibited to drive on a motorway’s emergency lane.
Alcohol Use and Alcohol Limits
The maximum blood alcohol content [g/l] for drivers in Bulgaria is 0,5 g/l (0.05 percent / 0.05%). Do not drink and drive.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
Driving in Bulgaria under the influence of drugs, such as and not limited to THC (cannabis), Methylamphetamine, and MDMA (ecstasy) is prohibited. Drivers are prohibited from driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or other drug substances.
Daytime Lights – Always On
Daytime running lights are mandatory in Bulgaria, even during daylight hours.
Mandatory Safety Equipment for Cars
The following safety equipment for cars is mandatory in Bulgaria – a reflective vest, a warning triangle, a first-aid kit, and a fire extinguisher.
Mandatory Safety Equipment for Cyclists
The following safety equipment for cyclists on public roads is mandatory in Bulgaria:
- Warning bell
- White or yellow lamp at the front and a red reflector (or red light) at the back of the bicycle
White or yellow reflectors visible on both sides of the wheels
- Cyclists are obliged to drive as close as possible to the right border of the traffic lane
- Reflective vest (outside built-up areas and at night and in poor visibility)
Mobile Phone Use While Driving
It is prohibited to speak on your mobile phone if it is not connected to the car audio system or use your mobile phone while driving. Remember that the mobile phone can make the automobile even more deadly. Using a hands-free device is permitted.
Winter Tires Are Mandatory In The Winter
Winter tires are mandatory between November 15 and March 1. A thread of a minimum of 4 mm is compulsory and enforced by law.
Spare Tire Or Equivalent
Each vehicle must have a spare tire or equivalent, such as a donut tire (convenience or temp spare tire) or inflator kit.
Driving & Renting Minimum Age
The minimum age to drive a car is 18 years old. The minimum age to rent a car is 21 years old.