• Viewbrite Safety Products
  • Viewbrite Safety Products
  • Viewbrite Safety Products

The Modern Traffic Safety Vest Is Designed To Save Lives

Many of us spend our working hours in an office cubicle. There are few real dangers other than file cabinets and virtually no chance of being accidentally killed. Imagine transporting that same cubicle to the side of a crowded freeway, however, and you will begin to understand why the traffic safety vest is so important for many workers in highway maintenance and other dangerous professions. Visibility can make the difference between a routine day on the job and one that ends in the hospital.

Not Meant For Fashion

Although these pieces of safety clothing will never grace the cover of a fashion magazine, all have unique properties. When first introduced about forty years ago, this type of occupational clothing was not mandatory. Today, most workers are required to wear protective outerwear usually made of a blend of nylon and polyester, and most have reflective stripes for added visibility.

Up To Standards

Today’s updated standards in the United States are spelled out by two groups, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA). These two governmental departments have been responsible for updating the old safety standards to include not only high visibility but also added comfort, including high fire and water resistance.

Because of these requirements, one size or type of design definitely does not fit all professions. All, however, must meet certain basic conditions, including the background material used. For ANSI compliance, this material must pass tests determining durability, brightness, and resistance to fading. The reflective material must also pass a battery of tests, including objective third party evaluations.

Different ANSI Classes

Today, there are separate types of vests used in differing work environments. Class 1 is worn by low-risk workers such as parking lot attendants and some off-road maintenance workers. The second type, Class 2, is often worn by crossing guards and other control officers in environments where vehicle speed is usually under 25 miles per hour. Class 3 is for the most hazardous jobs where oncoming vehicles are travelling in excess of 50 miles per hour.


Standard colors for these protective garments are extremely bright and highly visible, including fluorescent orange, yellow, and lime-green. Blue is sometimes worn by emergency response personnel in order to differentiate those workers at an accident site. Other kinds of employees may have their profession imprinted on the exterior, including firefighters, police officers, and security workers.

Which Do You Need?

Those responsible for ordering this protective clothing usually check for the latest governmental standards, which are constantly being updated. In this age of increased urban terrorist activity, there are even protective vests designed for those who are part of a special incident response command team. Other specialized garments have been designed specifically for use in areas that commonly experience wild extremes of weather.

For those who may wish to buy a vest for outdoor recreational visibility, it is important to remember that not all have been certified by ANSI. Be careful to avoid buying a vest, for example, that simply has some reflective tape added by the seller. To guarantee the high visibility vests have the best protection, wearing a traffic safety vest that has been thoroughly vetted in a real world setting is the best choice.

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