A COMMUNITY rocked by a horror crash has changed for the better since the incident, claims one of the organisers of a driving safety campaign.
The crash in St Helens Road on July 22 last year - involving two cars that were racing - left a young boy fighting for his life and 10 other people injured.
The cars ploughed into a group of people as they made their way home from a mosque at about 11.30pm during Ramadan.
Sufiyan Kala, who was on the scene shortly after the crash, said a campaign to raise awareness of dangerous driving had worked and the community was now looking to the future.
Following the crash, driver Mohammed Usman Patel, aged 20, of Leach Street, Great Lever, was jailed for three years and 10 months and driver Furqaan Mohmed, aged 21, of Gibbon Street, Daubhill, was jailed for two years and eight months.
Both admitted a catalogue of driving offences.
Mohammed Vohra, aged 20, of Mancroft Avenue, Daubhill, who initially claimed to be driving one of the cars, was sentenced to a six-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, after he admitted perverting the course of justice.
Victim Abdul Raheem Hussain, who was aged just 12 at the time, suffered serious leg injuries and spent months in hospital.
Mr Kala, aged 22, from Daubhill, has worked with police, Bolton Council of Mosques, Bolton Council and the fire service to organise the driving awareness events, which were held at mosques across the borough and at Bolton Central Fire Station in Moor Lane, Bolton.
He said: “The repercussions from last year are still being felt by residents, but in a reflective manner.
“Incidents of anti-social driving have decreased just because of the destruction that was witnessed during the time of the crash and the days following.
“These events have helped to put the bigger picture of road traffic collisions into perspective in an intuitive, yet emphatic, way and has shifted local community's mindset from anger to a feeling of hope and exploring permanent, proactive ways of maintaining the drop in anti-social driving.”
He said that in addition to the victims, the drivers and their families were also victims. Mr Kala added: “I’m not condoning the drivers’ actions.
"What they did was destructive and mindless, but that doesn’t make them bad people or hardened criminals.
“They were heartbroken they had caused something like this, were deeply upset and showed the utmost remorse.
"It’s been a chance to learn about the consequences and to avoid these types of incidents from happening.”
PCSO Gareth Walker, who works in the traffic unit, said: “Driving irresponsibly is the race with no winners.
“The events at the mosques were part of a pilot scheme and it made people realise what the emergency services have to witness is quite tragic.”