Scottish journalist, Sheena McDonald, whose life was changed forever in a horrific road accident 11 years ago, has just completed a major radio documentary series …on road safety.
And, in an in-depth article in the Scottish Daily Mail’s Weekend magazine yesterday, Dunfermline-born McDonald movingly revealed how she has slowly rebuilt her life after “….that wet, windy night, a police van travelling on the wrong side of the road knocked me down, sending my brain ricocheting against my skull and leaving me with severe head injuries, multiple facial fractures, a collapsed lung and a tenuous hold on life.”
Now, says McDonald, who is married to BBC special correspondent, fellow-Scot, Allan Little: “I'm happy; I know I am lucky and I always look forward in life, not back. But I am also excited by the thought of improvements in road safety. So when I heard, two years ago, that the first ever UN ministerial conference on road safety was to be held in Moscow, I instantly wanted to cover it.
“I heard delegates from 150 different countries talk about their experiences. Shockingly, over a million men and women are killed on the world's roads every year. More than 120,000 children also die.”
She continued: “I had pitched the idea of a series of radio programmes to the BBC, and they assigned me a producer. Together, we decided to travel to Kenya, which ranks high in the league table of road deaths and injuries, to see how road safety is practised. There are drink-driving and seat-belt laws in Kenya, but they are poorly enforced. In addition, the traffic police are also prone to corruption. What I saw left me shocked and shaken.
“Mighty highways such as Nairobi-Thika are currently being expanded to eight or more lanes wide, and cut through the heart of entire communities.”
The commission also sees her take the wheel of a car – for the first time since her accident. She explained: “By the time I was declared fit to drive, I had lost confidence.”
Road Kill, BBC World Service, tomorrow and a week tomorrow 3.05pm. Also on BBC Radio 4, Thursday, 11am.