A COUPLE whose eldest son was killed in a road accident just weeks after passing his driving test are backing a new campaign to raise awareness of country road safety.

David and Janet Warin, who live in Pickering, are helping to raise awareness and encourage responsible driving in rural areas after figures revealed more people were killed on North Yorkshire’s roads than in any other part of England.

Last year there were 51 people killed on the county’s roads, the highest local authority figure nationally, and 425 were seriously injured, according to statistics from the Department of Transport.

The figures have been released as Now North Yorkshire County Council has signed up to a national government campaign, Think! , to remind people of the hidden dangers on country roads.

David Warin was just 17 when he died in a single vehicle crash when his car left the road between Helmsley and Pickering as he returned from a trip to the cinema.

His parents, have worked with young people for the last 15 years to recount how the Daniel's death affected them and their family and talk about what they can do to avoid such an incident. David, a retired teacher who worked at Norton College and Lady Lumley's School in Pickering, was awarded the MBE last year for this work.

"My background as a former teacher made it easier for me to appreciate youngsters and we felt that after losing Daniel we were in a position to have something to say to them of value," David said.

"It may seem strange but it has allowed us to think much more about Daniel, he is constantly there and by our side all the time and we felt it was appropriate to pass on our experiences and thoughts to others."

Since 1991, the couple have been involved in Drive Alive, joining road safety officers in the county’s schools to run workshops with 16 and 17 year olds to raise awareness about hazards on rural roads, safe speeds, passenger power and peer pressure and first aid.

Janet said they had found that young people were able to relate to them as parents.

"As a mum they look at me and you can see the wheels turning in their minds that this could be their mum stood there - it really makes them think," she added.

"Our aim is not to upset or hurt people but to share our experiences and also how if affected the rest of our family, including our younger son Neil and Daniel's friends as well."

Janet said the campaign could never be measured in terms of 'successes' but they feedback they received was always very positive.

"We heard about one young man who got out of a situation which later resulted in a fatal crash because he had remembered the advice we had given and asked to stop at a service station," she added.

"Young people always think that it won't happen to me but if we can help just one young person it will have been worthwhile - it is something we feel very passionate about and we will carry promoting the road safety message as long as we can."

Deputy chief constable Tim Madgwick said: “In North Yorkshire we police more than 6,000 miles of roads, much of them remote, rural and picturesque.

“It is vital that all road users know their responsibilities and drive according to the speed limits, road conditions, weather and traffic situations. "We have seen too many lives lost and people seriously injured through split second lapses in concentration or sheer disregard for the road or other road users.”

The county council said figures showed that road casualties, including fatalities, on the county’s network, including rural roads, have fallen continuously since 2000.

County Councillor Gareth Dadd, executive member for highways, said: “We welcome visitors to our county and encourage people to enjoy the special beauty of North Yorkshire. We want people to enjoy our countryside and our roads but we also recognise that many more drivers come to grief on the rural network with all its twists and turns and potential hazards hidden around bends.”