A new set of tougher sanctions for exceeding speed limits came into effect in Bulgaria on June 30.

With nearly 500 people killed in crashes since the beginning of the year, debate has been raging about how to save lives. In the latest move, the parliament vowed to crack down on speeding drivers and increase fines to improve road safety.

The amendments to the road traffic legislation that the MPs adopted earlier in the month provide for a BGN 350 fine and stripping of the driving licence for three months for drivers who violate by 50km/h the speed limit in populated areas.

Drivers who are caught in drink-drive with blood alcohol exceeding 0.5 promiles will be imposed a BGN 500 fine and they will be prohibited from driving for a year.

If the driver fails to pay the fine within a month, a new fine of BGN 50 will be slammed.

Under the freshly adopted legislation taxi drivers are allowed to drive without safety belts.