California News

Free 'Tipsy Tow' service, Metro rides on New Year's Eve

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Officials are seen at a DUI checkpoint in Los Angeles County.

Officials are seen at a DUI checkpoint in Los Angeles County. (KABC Photo)

The Automobile Club of Southern California is offering free "Tipsy Tow" service on New Year's Eve for the 17th year.

People can call (800) 400-4AAA and tell the operator "I need a Tipsy Tow" to request a free tow of up to seven miles, restricted to the driver only.

The service is available to everyone (you don't have to be a AAA member) from 6 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday. Only one free tow is available per caller, and the service is one way only. Beyond seven miles, drivers will be charged the standard rate by the tow-truck contractor.

The Tipsy Tow service is available in all 13 Southern California counties served by the Auto Club. The service excludes rides for passengers and the destination is limited to the driver's residence. Reservations are not accepted.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is also offering free rides on all Metro bus and rail lines starting at 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve through 2 a.m. on Jan. 1. Regular fares will kick in after 2 a.m. Metro says the rail lines and the Metro Orange Line will operate all night, every 20 minutes, on New Year's Eve.

In 2012, 175,407 drivers were arrested for DUI, according to the Auto Club. In California, 24,000 people were killed or injured in alcohol-related crashes in 2012.

The Auto Club estimates that a first offense misdemeanor DUI conviction in California can cost approximately $15,649 or more in fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees and increased insurance costs. The estimated cost of a first-offense misdemeanor DUI for those under age 21 is $22,492.

The Auto Club advises that motorists can keep themselves and others safe and can avoid DUI arrests by keeping these safety tips in mind:

  • Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins.
  • At social events, designate non-drinking drivers who can get everyone home safely.
  • Never serve alcohol to those under age 21.
  • Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who was drinking alcohol -- even after one drink.
  • Call a friend or family member for a ride home if you've been drinking.
  • Keep a cab company telephone number in your cell phone and wallet so you can call for a ride home.
  • As a party host, offer non-alcoholic drink alternatives and provide a gift to guests who volunteer to be designated drivers; provide overnight accommodations to guests who've been drinking.
  • Take the car keys away from friends and relatives who have had too much to drink.
  • If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 (or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself).
  • Remember: prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely.

Visit PreventDUI.AAA.com for impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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