Bulgarian traffic police KAT will initiate a safety campaign under the slogan "Saving 300 lives use safety belts" on October 23, which will last until November 11 2009, the Bulgarian National Television said on October 22.

The organisers have said that in order for the campaign to yield positive results, it will have to be taken seriously by drivers and that everyone must actively participate in it.

"It is important that people are motivated, that they use their safety belts because they want to, not because it will save them from getting a fine. It must become a second nature to them, a reflex if you will," said KAT chief commissioner Krassimir Kostov, as quoted by BNT.

Statistics show that in Bulgaria, front seats safety belts are used in 85 per cent of the trips between cities and by 65 per cent within urban areas. The alarming statistic, however, is that when it comes to the use of rear seats safety belts, the usage in Bulgaria drops down to zero per cent.

By contrast, in most Western European countries, front seat safety belts are used by about 95 per cent of the population, whereas rear seat belts by about 85 per cent.

According to KAT's Alexi Kessiakov, as quoted by the BNT, "over 330 people lost their lives in 2008, deaths which could have been prevented had the people used safety belts. Of the 112 people who died last year and were rear-seat passengers, only eight of them used the belt".