Tragic teen's family agrees to assist in road safety film

THE grieving family of a teenager killed in a road accident is helping police to make a road safety film in the hope of preventing future tragedies.

Mike and Dorothy De Busk agreed to share their tragic story as part of the DVD, which will be used as an educational tool at secondary schools and colleges across Lothian and the Borders.

The couple's 17-year-old son, Matt, died when his car collided with a tree near Aberlady Mains in February last year.

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In the film, Mr and Mrs De Busk and daughter Natalie, 22, a dance teacher, speak about Matt as a youngster, the accident itself and its horrific aftermath.

They were contacted by Lothian and Borders Police last May and agreed to be part of the film.

Mr De Busk, of Gullane, East Lothian, said: "The policeman said they wanted to speak to parents who had been through losing a child in a road accident. They wanted to try and get across the type of character that their child was and what it meant to them to have lost a child.

"Dorothy and I discussed it and the various merits of it and we quickly decided that if it was going to prevent even one death, it was worth doing. Hopefully it will do more than that.

"In the video, we discussed a wee bit about what Matt was like as a child growing up. We brought it up to the point of the accident, the accident happening and how we felt then, and how we are coping afterwards."

One of Matt's close friends, Dougie Laidlaw, 19, was also interviewed as part of the film and spoke about how losing Matt had affected him.

"It was interesting because Dougie had actually sat beside Matt at a road safety play at Brunton Theatre in the August or September before he died, so it was really quite poignant," said Mr De Busk, a Lothian firefighter.

Police officers, firefighters and paramedics will also feature in the film, explaining the role they have in dealing with road traffic accidents.

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The DVD's target audience is 17 to 25-year-olds. As well as secondary schools and colleges, it will be shown at police events and presentations.

Another two families from the Lothian and Borders area who have been affected in some way by road traffic accidents will also feature on the DVD, which is still to be named.

Mr De Busk added: "Matt passed his test with no minors on January 13, which was my birthday. We thought it was the best thing he could ever have done, but it turned out to be the worst. He died on February 20, about six weeks later.

"We hope that other families don't have to go through what we have."

The DVD, which is the brainchild of the force's road safety co-ordinator, Sandy Allan, will be released next year.

It was funded by Lothian and Borders Police's internal road safety budget.

A spokesman for the police confirmed that they were currently working on the DVD, but added that it was still under development.