Sparkling children

  • 2000-11-09
  • Andrei Titov
TALLINN - All 16,000 Estonian first-formers will get free light reflectors this month in a campaign to make them more visible in the grayness of winter.

The distribution of reflectors among schoolchildren was organized by the political party Moderates, their youth branch Young Moderates and the Estonian Students' Union.

Moderate MP Tonu Koiv said they chose only first-formers, because most older children received light reflectors from the Road Administration last year.

"We coordinate our actions with the (Road Administration) and try not to go to schools where they have already been," said Koiv. The Road Administration launched a similar project two weeks ago. "In the darkness or when the visibility conditions are poor, a driver cannot see pedestrians farther than 30 meters away. A light reflector allows at least to triple this distance," said a Road Administration spokesperson.

Posters saying "Use the light reflector!" or "Soon is your bus stop. Don't forget the reflector!" flooded bus stops and public transport this week.

According to the Moderates, one more reason to give the reflectors away among first-formers is that the children who went to school for the first time this September often have no experience of being in the street without their parents.

"Children of second or third class have already got some wisdom," added Koiv.

The Young Moderates found many volunteers who agreed to visit schools all over the country to give away light reflectors and explain how to use them. A reflector must hang freely near the knee where a car's headlights are aimed.

Estonian Students' Union chairman Jorgen Siil said the whole project will cost about 140,000 kroons ($7,560), money supplied by the Moderates and other sponsors.

"It is expensive, of course, but when children are involved, the expenses are not of the greatest importance," said Siil.

According to the Estonian Statistics Department, 13 schoolchildren were badly injured in road accidents during the first three weeks of September this year.