Bulgaria’s Road Safety: Drink-Driving Limits in 2024

drinking and driving laws in Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers is set at 0.05%, equivalent to 0.5 grams of alcohol per liter of blood.

This page aims to spread awareness about the dangers associated with drunk driving in Bulgaria. This site does not support or encourage impaired driving, regardless of the country or region.

What is the legal alcohol limit for driving in Bulgaria?

In Bulgaria, the laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol are strict and clear. All drivers must adhere to a legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit, which is universally set at 0.05%. This limit applies equally to all individuals operating a vehicle on Bulgarian roads, ensuring a uniform standard for safe driving across the country.

Drink and Drive Penalties and Punishments in Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol are severe and designed to deter individuals from engaging in such risky behavior. The legal framework for these sanctions is outlined in the Road Traffic Act and the Penal Code, with penalties varying depending on the blood alcohol content (BAC) level detected in the driver.

  • For a BAC level of 0.5 to 0.8 g/L, offenders face a fine of €250, accrue 10 penalty points, and are subject to a driving ban of 6 to 12 months.
  • If the BAC level is between 0.81 to 1.2 g/L, the fine increases to €500, with the same 10 penalty points and a longer driving ban of 12 months.
  • Repeat offenders with a BAC level greater than 0.5 (for the 2nd or 3rd offence) are fined between €500 to €1000, receive 15 penalty points, and face a driving ban ranging from 12 to 36 months.
  • For BAC levels above 1.2 g/L, penalties include a fine of €100 to €500 and potential jail time of 1 to 3 years.
  • Repeat offenders for the 4th offence with a BAC greater than 0.5 can expect fines between €250 to €750 and jail time ranging from 1 to 5 years.
  • Refusing to submit to an alcohol test results in a €1000 fine, 12 penalty points, and a 24-month driving ban.

These measures reflect Bulgaria’s commitment to road safety and the serious consequences for those who disregard these laws. Given that regulations and penalties can evolve, it is advisable for drivers to frequently consult the official state’s website to stay informed about the most current laws and penalties related to drink driving.

How Can I Calculate If My Alcohol Blood Limit Is Legal in Bulgaria?

In Bulgaria, the police determine a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level primarily through breathalyzer tests conducted at the roadside. These devices are designed to provide an immediate measurement of alcohol concentration in one’s breath, which is then used to infer the blood alcohol level. Given the strict legal limit of 0.05% BAC in Bulgaria, it is crucial for drivers to be aware of their own alcohol levels before getting behind the wheel.

As an experienced phlebologist with over 10 years of experience, I recommend two reliable methods to check your BAC level:

  1. Use a High-Quality Alcohol Breathalyzer: Based on my professional experience, the BACtrack S80 is among the most accurate breathalyzers available in Bulgaria. It offers professional-grade accuracy and is both DOT & NHTSA approved and FDA 510(k) cleared. Keeping such a device in your car is advisable, as people sometimes underestimate their level of impairment. The BACtrack S80 can provide a quick and reliable estimate of your BAC, helping you make informed decisions about driving.
  2. Utilize a BAC Calculator: I have collaborated with other phlebologists and web developers to create an online BAC calculator. This tool is designed to estimate your blood alcohol level based on various factors such as the amount of alcohol consumed, your weight, and the time elapsed since drinking. While this method is not as immediate as using a breathalyzer, it can still offer valuable insight into your level of impairment.

It’s important to note that while both these methods can provide estimates of your BAC, they do not guarantee 100% accuracy. Factors such as individual metabolism, the type of alcohol consumed, and recent meals can influence the results. Therefore, these tools should be used as guidelines to help you avoid driving when you might be over the legal limit, rather than as definitive measures of your ability to drive legally. Always err on the side of caution and consider alternative transportation options if there’s any doubt about your sobriety.

Ways to Avoid Driving with a High BAC in Bulgaria

Drinking beer and driving in Bulgaria

Driving under the influence of alcohol poses significant risks, not only to the driver but also to others on the road. In Bulgaria, where the legal BAC limit is set at a strict 0.05%, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure you’re not behind the wheel if you’ve consumed alcohol. Here are practical tips to avoid driving with a high BAC:

  1. Utilize Taxi Services: One of the simplest ways to avoid the temptation of driving after drinking is to use taxi services. Apps like Uber offer convenient and safe rides with just a few taps on your smartphone. For local options, consider using reputable taxi companies such as Yellow Taxi Sofia in Sofia or Triumph Taxi Ltd. in Varna. These services provide a reliable alternative to personal driving, ensuring you get home safely without risking a DUI.
  2. Order a Designated Driver Service: If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve driven to a location and then consumed alcohol, leaving your car behind might not seem appealing. Fortunately, designated driver services offer a solution. Companies like S-Service Ltd in Sofia or OsaBus in Varna specialize in driving you and your car home. Just search for “designated driver service” followed by your city’s name in a search engine, and you’ll find options that can ensure both you and your vehicle get back safely without the need to drive yourself.

These strategies not only help in avoiding legal repercussions but also contribute to the safety and well-being of everyone on the road. Remember, planning how to get home before heading out can make all the difference in making responsible choices when alcohol is involved.


Sticking to Drink and Drive Laws in Bulgaria: Sad Statistics

In 2019 and 2020, Bulgaria saw a significant number of road collisions linked to alcohol, resulting in fatalities and injuries. Despite a decrease in deaths from 52 to 27, the consistent number of injuries highlights the ongoing risk of driving under the influence.

Surveys indicate that around 5% of Bulgarian drivers have driven when they might have exceeded the legal alcohol limit within a month, underscoring the importance of alternative transportation methods like taxis or designated driver services for safety.

Understanding and adhering to local drunk driving laws is essential for road safety. Regular use of a certified alcohol breathalyzer can help monitor blood alcohol levels, aiding in making responsible decisions about driving. For detailed information on Bulgaria’s DUI laws, visiting the European Transport Safety Council’s official website is recommended.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.