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Traffic rules and fines in Bulgaria

Roads in Bulgaria are far from being the best in Europe. They are narrow, twisty, and poorly lit. Road marking is missing or faded in places. Drivers are not alerted with signs to beware of roadworks ahead. It is critical to observe traffic rules and exercise caution on the road.

Traffic rules in Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria uses the following speed limits: 30mph (50km/h) within towns; 55mph (90km/h) outside cities. You'd better not break the traffic rules not so much because of fines as because of the above
  • The speed limit in pedestrian zones is 20km/h
  • There are new and repaired expressways in the country where your driving speed must be 30mph to 85mph (50km/h to 140km/h)
  • The low beam must be on while driving
  • The blood alcohol limit is 0.5 permille
  • All children younger than 12 must ride in the back in fitted child seats
  • Drivers can only use their phones to make or receive phone calls by using a hands-free system
  • All passengers must ride buckled up.

In case of an emergency stop, the driver and all passengers must wear reflective vests, even in the daytime.

Radar jammers are illegal, while radar detectors are allowed.

Switch off speed camera detection and warning functions in your navigation system.

Even though low beam must always be on, local drivers often disregard this rule. Moreover, you can encounter donkey-drawn carts on the road. Long-eared animals drag pensively in the middle of the road paying no attention to honking.

Drivers should exercise attention and caution when driving at night in beautiful Bulgaria.

Fines in Bulgaria

Since January 2017, Bulgarian authorities "tightened the screws" once again by raising some penalties significantly.

  • Speeding fines are 20 leva (€10) for exceeding up to 10km/h over the posted speed limit, 50 leva (€25) for up to 20km/h over the limit, 100 leva (€50) when speed is more than 30km/h above the limit and so on
  • If you take a disabled parking space, you can pay a fine of 200 leva (€100)
  • Other parking violations will result in a fine of 20 leva (€10)
  • The penalty for kids travelling without a child seat is 50 leva (€25)
  • If the driver or passengers do not wear a seat belt, they can face a fine of 50 leva (€25)
  • The fine for driving with low beam off is 20 leva (€10)
  • The penalty for using your phone without a hands-free system while driving is 50 leva (€25)
  • The law is hard on drunk drivers and provides a fine from 500 to 1,000 leva (€250 to €500) for the first offence and up to 2,000 leva (€1,000) with driving ban in case of a repeat offence.

Fine payment

You can pay a fine on the spot or at a bank. If you pay the penalty immediately, the police officer will provide you with a payment receipt.

Fines over 50 leva (€25) can be disputed. However, challenging a drink driving penalty will be a waste of time and money because nobody will stand for you.