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John Bisnar
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Tipsy Drivers Get Free Rides

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AAA Program Drives Drinkers Home

CHP Program Drives Drinkers To Motel

With New Year’s falling on a Monday, we are enjoying three uninterrupted days off work and full of sports, family, friends and drinking occasions. “The long holiday weekend creates more opportunities for drinking and consequently drunken driving”, says Carol Thorp, a spokeswoman for the Automobile Club of Southern California .

The number of Californians arrested for driving under the influence in 2005 is only half of what it was 25 years ago, it’s still disturbingly high at 182,414 arrests, says Thorp. Statewide annual alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes have also decreased sharply by 55% from 49,314 in 1981 to nearly 21,968 in 2005, she says.

The Automobile Club of Southern California is offering its free Tipsy Tow service for the 10th consecutive year to drinking drivers during the New Year’s holiday weekend. The service is available from 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 29 through the end of the day on Monday, Jan. 1, 2007. Tipsy Tow is available in the 13 Southern California counties served by the Auto Club.

Motorists, bartenders, restaurant managers, party hosts or passengers of a drinking driver may call 1-800-400-4AAA for a free tow home of up to seven miles. Callers simply tell the Auto Club operators, “I need a Tipsy Tow,” to receive the free tow and ride home.

Callers need to keep in mind that the service excludes rides for passengers, is restricted to a one-way, one-time ride for the driver and the destination is limited to the driver’s residence. Reservations are not accepted. Drivers can expect to pay the rate charged by the tow truck contractor for rides farther than seven miles. “We want motorists to be aware of the high crash risk from drinking and driving associated with holidays and encourage them to think twice about getting behind the wheel if they have been drinking,” says Thorp.

This weekend the California Highway Patrol has enlisted the public to be on the look out for intoxicated drivers and to call 911 to report any. The CHP is on heightened look out to give drinking drivers a ride as well as a room for the evening. The Grey Bar Motel is not where you want to begin your new year.

Happy New Year to everyone. Please drive safe and not at all if you have been drinking.