For about a year and a half, I have received the same email from the Ministry of the Interior almost every day. It is entitled as follows: “Interim results of the specialized police operation to comply with the Road Traffic Act”. In this daily email, it is described how many motor vehicles have been checked in the past 24 hours, how many violations have been detected, how many drivers have been sanctioned – acts, slips, driving after consuming alcohol, drugs, etc.
This specialized operation began after a horrific accident occurred in the summer of 2022 on Cherni Vrah Blvd. in Sofia, in which two young women died. Former football player Georgi Semerdzhiev was accused of this incident. To date, he has been convicted in the first instance, the case is pending before the second. And the specialized operation has turned into a dry statistic, even a little boring – both for those who write it and for those who read it.
I’m not saying the police shouldn’t be on the lookout for traffic violations. On the contrary, it should be – continuously. The problem is that he always does it after some tragedy. And the driving mentality in our country is somewhere between a kamikaze and an immortal idiot. And no rush-ordered stocks can handle that attitude. When we add to this the state of the roads, which is an exact copy of the state of the country, getting into a car becomes tantamount to going to the front.
Do you know why the specialized operation started, for which the Ministry of Internal Affairs has been reporting daily for the past 18 months? Because something had to be done. The “Semerjiev” case was brutal – both because of the serious accident, and because of the absolutely innocent victims who died, and because of the long-standing police cover over the offender, which was also recognized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. And so the then government stepped up to show will in the fight against traffic offenders. And produced the specialized operation. If even one human life was saved because of her, it was worth it.
But the statistics are still bleak. Since then, hundreds have died on the roads.
I will mention only two cases – the boy killed on a footpath on “Shishman” street and the football coach Ferrario Spasov, who died just a few days ago near the Tarnovo village of Sheremetya, hit by another car and thrown into the ditch.
Do you remember Milen Tsvetkov? And he left in such a ridiculous way, he was waiting at a traffic light when a jeep hit him from behind at 100 kilometers per hour and without any stopping distance.
Pressed by the public dissatisfaction and the need to do something again, the current rulers decided to make a register of the offending drivers (the Ministry of the Interior and the Prosecutor’s Office) and check the income of those with expensive cars (the tax ones). Because, strangely enough, it turns out that very often those with vehicles for several tens of thousands do whatever they want. Weird how? Actually no – it’s called corruption.
So, let’s check where their money is coming from, maybe that way we can scare them and make them learn their lesson. Are you serious? Here is a great example of how to proceed sequentially. Isn’t it the taxman’s duty to verify income on a general basis? Or as long as you’ve become ill-gotten rich with an expensive car, but you behave well on the roads, there’s no problem? What logic!
What about the register of offenders?! This measure gives me a bit of déjà vu, probably because after every major disaster there are some checks that come out of nothing. In a sense – the Ministry of Internal Affairs has information on all offenders, but now it will simply collect it in one place.
After 46 Macedonian tourists died on the Struma highway at the end of 2021, the then chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev ordered an inspection of the…road markings. As if it was not clear to every driver that she was inadequate. And what? Nothing! They changed the markings, made the dead driver guilty, God forgive the victims and that’s it.
Now we are going to check how someone bought the expensive car. Nice, but we should have done it a long time ago. In general, the following detail is indicative of the quality of the investigators’ work. After it became known that the suspect in the Ferrari accident Spasov was released from custody, the prosecutor Yordan Kozhuharov, who made this decision, was urgently summoned to Sofia to be read personally by the chief prosecutor Borislav Sarafov. Kozhuharov admitted that he might have been wrong. And he explained that it was not true that the suspect still had a license, because it was taken away from him immediately. A few hours later, the driver appeared at the Turnovo police station to hand in his driver’s license. And the case was sent to Lovech, where the whole scandal ended, because the prosecutors there also decided that the suspect should not be in custody. That’s it, now we’re waiting for expertise and several years of litigation. By the time it’s over, who will remember exactly what it was about.
And in the meantime, when things calm down, the current stock will sink like the last one. Again, the documents and electronic slips will be delivered several months late, again the Home Secretary will advertise the notification of a fine imposed by email and viber as an achievement. Never mind that this service has absolutely no legal value and you can pretend to be crazy until they track you down months or years from now.
And so – until the next tragedy.