Sunday, 25 October 2009

Dutch Asylum Seekers: An Accident Waiting To Happen?

Apparently asylum seekers in the Dutch village of Tienray are being provided with fluorescent jackets because 'people with dark skins are not easily seen at night', or so the local paper De Telegraaf claims, and they even provide a helpful photo of one of the jackets.

This wonderful contribution to the history of road safety (or should that be racist stupidity) was dreamt up by a committee of "locals, council officials, police and the COA* refugee organisation. This committee seems to think that these jackets are needed because the asylum seekers 'dark skins' mean 'people only see them at the last minute, which can give people a fright'!

Now you are driving down a country lane in the middle of a cold winter's night and you come across someone in the middle of the road, are they likely to be any less visible if they have a white or black face? What if they are walking away from you? Do Dutch asylum seekers really suffer statistically significant higher numbers of road accidents?

* Centraal Orgaan Opvang Asielzoekers or Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers, an organisation funded by the Dutch Ministry of Justice.

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