Ringing in the New Year should not include a visit to the hospital or behind bars for drunk driving. If you’ve been drinking during end of the year celebrations, AAA Northern California will take you and your car home for free.
AAA’s Tipsy Tow program is open to everyone. You do not need to be a AAA member to take advantage of this service to the community.
AAA will offer the service to drinking drivers from 6 p.m. Dec. 31 to 6 a.m. Jan. 1, in Northern California. Drivers, potential passengers, party hosts, bartenders, and restaurant managers can call 800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) for a free tow home of up to 10 miles. Just tell the AAA operator, “I need a Tipsy Tow,” and a truck will be on its way.
The service will provide a one-way ride for the driver and vehicle to the driver’s home. If there are additional passengers who need a ride, they will be taken to the driver’s home as long as there is room for them to be transported safely in the tow truck. You cannot make a reservation.
“Everybody wants to have fun at a New Year’s party,” said Cynthia Harris, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “But if you’ve been drinking, don’t get behind the wheel. Give AAA a call and we’ll make sure you get home safely.”
According to 2010 statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes. That is one death every 51 minutes. As little as one drink can impair vision, steering, braking, judgment, and reaction time.
During New Year’s Eve in 2009 the California Highway Patrol reported that 11 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes. That’s three times the daily average in California. An additional 163 people were injured in crashes involving alcohol. The same year, the CHP also arrested 488 people for drunk driving. According to 2008 statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk-driving crashes account for about 36 percent of highway deaths of young people age 16 to 24. As little as one drink can impair vision, steering, braking, judgment, and reaction time.
AAA estimates that a first time DUI conviction in California can cost up to $12,000 in fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees, and added insurance expenses. You can’t put a price tag on a crash that causes an injury or death.