Reflective vests for drivers in Russia

Reflective vests for drivers

Rainy autumn evening, already dark. The windshield of the car periodically throws dirt, flying out from under the wheels of cars in front, the “wipers” barely manage to cope, cleaning the windshield of water and dirt. Visibility is minimal.


On the right side of the road, next to the roadway, there is a car with the emergency light switched on. In the rearview mirror, the driver notices a flashing yellow turn signal overtaking his car. Instinctively he presses to the right. And here, next to a car standing on the side of the road almost on the roadway, a man suddenly appears in the rain. I would like to hope that an experienced driver was driving, and the braking system of his car was in perfect condition. Only in this case, the driver would have managed to avoid a collision, and all remained safe and sound. But this is not always the case. This situation is familiar to almost every Russian driver. And she is familiar because the additions to the law on reflective materials on clothes appeared quite recently. This innovation caused a mixed reaction of domestic drivers.


Why and when did the norm about reflective vests appear in the traffic rules?

Russian traffic police lead to terrifying statistics. During the first half of 2017, in the territory of the Russian Federation, 66 drivers fell under the wheels and were in the dark near their cars repaired on the side of the road. Think about it: 66 people died just because other drivers simply did not notice them in the dark.

Characteristically, the number of such road accidents in the first 6 months of 2017 increased by 5% compared to the same period of the previous year. Representatives of the road inspectorate initiated innovation in the Russian traffic rules, which implies the driver wearing reflective clothing if he leaves his car, stopped on the side of the road or even on the roadway. Naturally, the new legislation passed through all the necessary instances. On September 23, 2017, this initiative took the form of a project. December 12, the project became law. The relevant Governmental Decree under number 1524 shall enter into force three months after its publication. It was on December 12 that the document was signed by the Head of the Russian Government, Dmitry Medvedev. The traffic police have a specialized analytical department that monitors road traffic accidents on Russian roads, identifies their causes, as well as compiles and analyzes the information received. The duties of this service include the detection of major trends in road accidents, which for various reasons occur on Russian roads. Also, a comparison of the current situation with the same period last year and previous years. Such an approach helps to identify those vulnerabilities that should be paid special attention not only to the Russian traffic police but also to Russian lawmakers. After all, in the end, the result of such actions will be the saved lives of compatriots and guests of the country.


Traffic police are constantly monitoring the situation.


For example, after the introduction of the need to wear reflective elements on clothing by pedestrians in the first half of 2017, the number of visits to pedestrians during the dark time of day decreased by more than 10%, if we compare these figures with the same period of 2016. The situation on Russian roads cannot but cause certain concerns. For example, in only 6 months of 2017, nearly 1,300 people became victims of road accidents, and more than 6,500 people were seriously injured. The traffic police analyst states that the decrease in the number of raids on people in the category of pedestrians during the dark time of the day is due to the action of Section 4.1 of the Road Traffic Regulations, which imposes a duty on a pedestrian when walking along the side of the roadway or crossing the road outside the settlement, wear reflective elements , which must see drivers of all vehicles. This information is given in the explanatory note attached to the above Resolution. Indeed, as a result of the introduction of light-reflecting elements on clothing for pedestrians who move outside of populated areas, the number of road accident victims related to the arrivals of drivers against people walking along the roadsides has noticeably decreased. It should be borne in mind that outside the settlement the illumination of the road is minimal, the driver is blinded by the light of oncoming headlights, the condition of the road surface does not always allow you to stick to your lane. Therefore, it is very easy to miss a person walking along the side of the road. Fractions of a second – one life are ruined and another one is broken. Calling drivers for special care outside the settlements is ineffective. The traffic police have long been convinced of this. After all, the driver initially is not going to shoot down anyone, as well as to break his fate. As a rule, everything happens suddenly and often leads to very serious consequences, because the speed of the car outside the settlement is usually very high. Pedestrians, in this case, should wear retro-reflective bracelets or special reflective fabrics on clothes in the dark when moving along the sides or the edge of a carriageway, often a suburban road.


In principle, this innovation is only an addition to the fourth paragraph of the Rules of the road, which refer to the duties of a pedestrian. A driver who has gotten out of the car and who is on the side of the road can, in fact, be equated with a pedestrian, so are his passengers. By the way, it usually means that a car that has stopped at night on the side of the road is obliged to turn on the warning light. But this is not always the case. Partly on the laxity and irresponsibility of the drivers themselves, and partly in the case when the lighting equipment fails or the onboard power supply disappears. Each car, in addition, must be equipped with a remote emergency warning sign, but in practice, not everyone has it. It happens that the stop occurred after as the oil pressure light blinked or the wipers’ cleaning surface was clogged with dirt, so it is only assumed to quickly check the oil level or wipe the wipers. But sometimes this shortstop is enough for the tragedy.


Incidentally, the innovation in the Rules of the Road with respect to reflective elements for pedestrians was put into effect in the middle of 2015, since that time having noticeably shown its effectiveness. Initially, the analytical service of the traffic police monitored the situation associated with a large number of deaths during a car hit by pedestrians outside the settlements. After analyzing the situation and drawing on the experience of Western colleagues, representatives of the Russian traffic police introduced the corresponding initiative, which later on at the legislative level acquired the form of an indispensable condition. By the way, not always a pedestrian walking along the side of the road may be in a sober state. After all, most drivers do not sit behind the wheel after libation – in order to avoid unpleasant communication with the traffic police and further huge fines. But a pedestrian who drank a good deal would be practically nothing if viewed from a legal point of view. Reflecting signs on clothing primarily attract the attention of the driver of a moving vehicle, who immediately notices a similar light signal, which is usually a reflection of the headlights of his car on the luminous surface of a person’s clothes.

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