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Rights and responsibilities during roadside checks by Bulgarian Traffic Police...

If you are planning to rent a vehicle from a rent-a-car company in Varna, it is good to know what your rights and responsibilities are as a driver, especially if you have little or no experience with driving in Bulgaria.

Getting pulled over by traffic police can happen to anyone for a routine roadside check or because of a driving violation.

It is useful to know what your rights are, so that you stay safe from complications and misunderstandings.

First of all, the Bulgarian traffic police have uniforms and dark blue or fluorescent yellow vests, as well as visible stripes saying “Traffic police” and in the winter they have black knitted hats with a “police” sign on the front.  This is important, because there have been some incidents with criminals posing as traffic police and robbing the drivers or taking their cars.

Other officials also have the right to pull you over but they need to identify themselves with a badge with a name, photo and their organization.  If you have suspicions, you have the right to ask the officers for their identification cards.

проверка пътна полиция

To limit the cases of corruption, the law in Bulgaria requires that the traffic policemen are 2 per team, and they drive patrol cars with video and audio recording devices which record the entire event of the roadside check.  This is not mandatory if you have been pulled over for a driving violation.

When you are stopped by traffic police, you need to show them your identification document, your valid driver’s license, the registration of the car, a document and sticker for liability insurance, a vignette if you are out of town, as well as a sticker for a passed annual technical checkup of the car – the latter three should be provided by your rent-a-car company.

Wearing seatbelts in all seats of the car is mandatory in Bulgaria.  The limit for alcohol in the blood when driving is 0.5 promilles.  You may be pulled over and asked to take a breath alcohol test on the road.  In case you refuse, you will be given a medical note requiring you go to have a blood test in the nearest hospital in a limited amount of time.

To stay away from trouble, it is best that you drive in accordance to the speed limits and the road signs, follow the rules, and remember to never attempt to bribe a traffic policeman  and absolutely refuse to pay a bribe or any cash on the road when stopped by the police.