Birmingham man issues vital road safety message on anniversary of best friend’s death

James Davies

A Birmingham man who lost his best friend in a drink-drive accident eight years ago is using the anniversary of his death to reinforce vital road safety messages for the next generation of young drivers.

James Davies, from Sutton Coldfield, died in an accident on the A442 near Kidderminster on September 18, 2011, aged just 20, after driving home from the pub.

While toxicology reports showed James was not over the drink-drive limit, his best friend, Sam Longman, who was with him in the pub that evening, said the tragedy showed the devastating impact even a small amount of alcohol can have on a person getting behind the wheel.

James had been discharged from the military following an injury and had enrolled on an art and design course to fulfil his hopes of going to university.

Sam, 28, said the tragic loss changed his and James’ family’s lives forever, describing him as someone whose “humour and kindness made him loved by all”.

Sam has since set up his own business,, a free website which connects young drivers with driving instructors across the West Midlands and aims to help make learning to drive as easy and low cost as possible for every learner.

He has produced a dedicated road safety section on the site, telling the story of James’s death and warning new drivers to avoid drinking any alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

Sam Longman

Sam said: “It is unfortunate to say that most of us will know of someone who has been affected, injured or worse in a drink driving related accident. Speaking from my personal experience, my best friend made the decision to drink and drive, without a thought of the consequences.

“The tragic loss of James still affects the many who love him today. His momentary lack of judgement led to the devastating death of a brilliant individual who should have had a long and successful life ahead of him.

“We’d had a couple of beers at the pub after finishing work and as young adults we never considered the consequences of our actions. It is difficult to describe the effect this tragic event has had on James`s friends and family – both my life and theirs have been changed forever.

“Alcohol negatively affects a person’s coordination, vision, reaction time and decision-making skills; all of which are key components when driving.

“I hope that by sharing this story it will encourage others to consider the consequences of drink driving, not just on themselves but also on their friends and family. It will never be worth the risk.”

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