n South African Journal of Surgery - Injuries sustained by passengers travelling in the cargo area of light delivery vehicles : trauma

Volume 52, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0038-2361
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5151



Despite its inherently dangerous nature, the practice of transporting passengers in the cargo area of light delivery vehicles (LDVs) is widespread in South Africa.

To review the patterns and outcome of injuries associated with events involving LDVs transporting passengers.
All patients presenting to the Pietermaritzburg Metropolitan Trauma Service in KwaZulu-Natal Province following an event in which they had been travelling in the cargo area of an LDV between January 2011 and December 2012 were included in the audit.
A total of 66 patients were treated during the study period; 35% were children under the age of 18, and 90% were ejected from the LDV during the incident. The mean injury severity score (ISS) was 23. Collision events were associated with a higher mean ISS (33) than non-collision events (15) (=0.008). The region most commonly injured was the head and neck, and 11% of victims sustained a permanent disability. The patients collectively spent 873 days in hospital and 70 days in an intensive care unit, and underwent 17 operations.
Transporting passengers in the cargo area of an LDV is dangerous, as ejection from the vehicle resulting from a collision is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Legislative initiatives to prevent this practice are required as part of an ongoing comprehensive injury prevention programme.

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