People become more conscious with reflectors

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On Thursday, December 7, Talsu Vestis, together with inspectors of the traffic police department of the Police of the Kurzeme Regional Police (VLP), visited the patrol police unit. As a result, a positive conclusion is that people use light reflectors in the dark at night.

Together with the photographer and the inspectors, we sit in an unmanned police car, Škoda, and drive away. We leave around 5 pm, it is rainy so there are not many people on the streets.

"Every day we focus on ensuring that road users do not break the rules of the road, but today we focus on pedestrians. How they move or use reflective elements. A reflector is not enough, a reflective vest or well-reflective elements are needed," explains Andris Osītis, senior inspector of the traffic police department of the Police Service of the Kurzeme Regional Police. Road users are monitored daily, but on enhanced raids, all crews, with as many staff as possible, go monthly.

If a pedestrian moves along an unlit roadway without reflectors, the inspectors shall be liable to a fine of between seven and 30 euros. The first time, though, only a warning is issued, but if a person is detained again for the same offense, a fine will be imposed. "Preventive work is the key, not punishment, but if a person has failed to learn after several warnings, we apply a penalty. Such persons are not only endangering their safety and lives, but also drivers who, following an accident, have a serious psychological trauma or, God forbid, also a driver, not just a pedestrian. Think if there are still children in the car. It is a lifelong trauma for them!" A. Osītis thinks.

When asked if the situation with the use of reflective elements in the public improves, the inspectors answer in the affirmative. Not only pedestrians obey the rules, but also cyclists, who must wear a reflective vest with reflective material. "There is an improvement, but accidents are still occurring, including with tragic consequences," says a senior inspector.

At the end of November, at the beginning of December (within a week), two road traffic accidents involving pedestrians were recorded in the Kurzeme region. Both accidents occurred during the dark hours of the day, with pedestrians invisible, ie without reflective elements in their clothing. One accident occurred in Talsi municipality, Lubes parish, Anuži, and the other in Ventspils.

Going through the Pastende, pedestrians are already visible on both sides of the road. Two couples have secured flashlights, while a man in his pants has wide reflective bands. So there are no violations.

Next, we drive on the Riga - Ventspils highway to Spare, we do not notice any pedestrians on the way. On the way back through the Pastendy, people were noticeable again, but they also got a flashlight. Between Parents and Talsi, a man has such a wide and varied array of reflective elements in his garment that he associates with a shining Christmas tree! Here's what a car driver really can notice.

Checking the situation in Stende, at some point on an illuminated road, we find a very dark pedestrian. We stop and Andris Puķāns, the inspector of the traffic surveillance unit of the Patrol Police Department of the Police Bureau of Kurzeme Regional Police, addresses 15-year-old Agnya by giving her a reflective vest with reflective tape. "In rainy weather, it is especially difficult for drivers to spot a pedestrian if they do not have light-reflecting elements, especially if the pedestrian has dark clothes. The result can be sad. We won't write you a protocol this time, hoping we won't meet again in these circumstances." Asked the inspector. The girl said she understood the mistake and promised that it would not happen again.

As it turns out, Agni forgets to put on a reflector because she wears a different coat that already has a reflective element in her everyday life. Today, due to rain, she has put on another topcoat, but the reflector will be forgotten. "The need for a reflector is told to us at school, also mentioned in the family. I understand the need for a reflector, as there have been many accidents where the driver does not see the person, even on pedestrian crossings," the girl observed.

Returning to Talsi, the inspectors evaluate the evening raid very positively. "It's just to be welcomed that people are moving around, making drivers notice. Someone more, some less, but bright. It just makes people happy to start thinking about their safety. Who else, if not taking care of themselves? It is not necessary for us, the police, but our safety and health," said A. Osītis.

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