Reflective vests save lives

Since September it has been required by law for pedestrians on poorly-lit public roadsides to wear reflective vests to make them visible to drivers. However, raids have shown individual members of the public to be poorly motivated in protecting themselves in the safest, most conspicuous way possible.

Visible = Alive

Some claim not to have known about the new law despite a public awareness campaign ‘Visible – Alive!’ sponsored by the Road Safety Directorate to promote the use of reflective vests.

Unfortunately, the campaign was prompted by an uptick after many years in the number of roadside tragedies involving people walking along dark unilluminated stretches of highway or streets without being properly dressed for the deadly risk.

The fine for not wearing a reflective vest while walking along a dark roadside ranges from €15 to €30. Altogether the number of administrative cases brought against persons caught in raids since the law went into effect September 12 has already topped 1500.

Police official Artis Velšs said people don’t realize the life-saving effect of being seen on the roadside.

“Their attitude is one of a burden imposed by the state. Yeah, you have to write me up and I have to wear that vest, etc. We explain and explain, this vest is the cost of your life, believe me otherwise you are as good as invisible. Statistics are statistics, but cases are cases, and the cases show that most of those killed have simply not had any reflective material on them whatsoever,” he lamented.

So far this year 51 persons have lost their lives walking along the roadside. This is one-fifth more than in the previous year’s period, prompting police officials to worry that the numbers could get worse as the darkness comes earlier and stays later.

That is why reflective vests are obligatory. During the campaign it is hoped that over 20,000 reflective vests will be handed out to needy low-income residents. They are widely available at fueling retail stations, supermarkets and internet shops, the cheapest among them costing only €3.

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