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Bulgaria Tightens Procedures for Drivers License Issuing

Date: 30.10.2009

Anonymous traffic law exams and cameras to tape the driving tests will be soon introduced as part of the measures to prevent widespread fraud and corruption in the issuing of drivers licenses in Bulgaria.

The measures are part of a package to be proposed to the Parliament by the Transport Ministry, according to Minister Alexander Tsvetkov, who added some of the new rules would become effective as early as the beginning of 2010.

Starting in January, the written exams will be anonymous and the examinees will be strictly monitored . Tsvetkov pointed out that in order to stop corruption and the illegal sale of drivers licenses, the connection between the student driver, the driving instructor and the examiner must be interrupted. For this reason, the changes in the Traffic Law include banning instructors from becoming members of the examining committee while the requirement that an instructor has a 5-years experience in order to conduct an exam is going to be eliminated. The examiner will no longer sit upfront, on the passenger seat, but will stay in the back of the car. By the middle of 2010, GPS equipment will be installed inside the testing rooms and the automobiles to videotape the entire exam. Tsvetkov said the equipment will cost between BGN 500 and 600 per automobile.

By the same time, the theory exam will become computerized by the use of special software, which will be provided to driving schools free of charge by the Ministry. Currently the written exam includes 60 questions and only 5 wrong answers are allowed in order to pass.

The new measures, however, are expected to dramatically increase the price of driving lessons, which currently amount to BGN 800 in Sofia for the entire course.

The amendments will be introduced to the Council of Ministers by November 25, and will be subject to a public debate.

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