To be seen, or not to be seen

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- During hours of darkness and limited visibility, Air Force service members in uniform, as well as Department of Defense civilian employees, who are in a paid duty status, are required to wear a reflective belt. Wearing reflective gear provides increased visibility to others. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Airman Schelli Jones)

During hours of darkness and limited visibility, Air Force service members in uniform, as well as Department of Defense civilian employees, who are in a paid duty status, are required to wear a reflective belt. Wearing reflective gear provides increased visibility to others. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Airman Schelli Jones)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Every day, Airmen around the world face complex challenges, meet them head on, and work hard to overcome them. But during periods of reduced visibility or darkness, we continue to struggle with the challenge to be seen and to prevent or reduce the potential for pedestrian-related traffic injuries.

Often, the first line of defense to be seen in the dark involves the use of reflective belts or other reflective outer garments.  But people sometimes choose not to wear reflective gear.

The use of reflective gear is often a topic for safety briefings, but unfortunately people still run across parking lots, jog or run on base roads, and cross streets at night without reflective gear.

Excuses heard for non-use vary; however, these same people comply with other uniform or safety gear requirements everyday without exception.

As daylight hours wane this time of year and pedestrians and traffic continue to share the same spaces during periods of reduced or restricted visibility, wearing proper reflective gear could save lives.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2008, 69,000 pedestrians were injured in motor vehicle crashes in the United States, and 4,378 pedestrians were killed. Pedestrians comprise about 12 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths each year.

Fortunately, we don't experience those numbers on base, but it is not that uncommon to hear about close calls or receive notification of safety concerns that involve pedestrians and traffic during predawn or nighttime hours.

The choice is yours.  Do you want to be seen, or not to be seen?

(Mr. Kevin L. Ennis of the 1st Special Operations Wing Ground Safety Office contributed to this story)