For Mandela Day/s SADD visited 25 disadvantaged road crash victims in Greys, Edendale and Northdale Hospitals in Pietermaritzburg, to offer support, do some research and give them a small “Goody Bag” with items to make them more comfortable while in hospital.

The bags included T shirts, scarves, woolly hats, toiletries, pens and writing materials, reflective bags and road safety materials.

In South Africa we usually only look at statistics of those killed on our roads and forget about those who are injured, often with life changing consequences for them and their families. Many of the victims have either no or very infrequent visitors, either have been, or will be hospitalized for extended periods of time and this then made the SADD teams visit, support and the gift bag so special to them.

The gifts were kindly donated by N3TC, Clicks, Howick Pharmacy, Kubela Store, Trucksurance and The Fabric Gallery. Money from MySchool was gratefully used to pay for petrol, staff and administrative costs.

The majority of the victims we visited were pedestrians walking on the pavements, or side of the road where there were no pavements. SADD ask for proper pavements to be built on all roads and for them to have guard rails. This is especially important in high traffic areas and in public transport drop-off collection points.

Some of the crashes had been caused by reckless and intoxicated drivers as well as unroadworthy vehicles whose tyres burst. Prevention is better than cure, so enforcement of our excellent road traffic laws needs to be intensified.

We also found that many passengers were not buckled up and thrown out of vehicles in crashes, so enforcement of buckling up needs to be enforced for front and back seat passengers.

SADD handed out training manuals to doctors and nurses at the 3 Hospitals as part of our preventative and educative work.

We hope by sharing the road crash victim stories with the public we will highlight the financial and emotional devastation that crashes cause to victims and their families and how it places an unnecessary and enormous burdens on our health system.