As New Year's revelers toast their champagne glasses at midnight, AAA Arizona reminds everyone to greet 2011 safely. Recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety findings indicate that more people were killed in alcohol-related crashes after the year-end holiday. To help motorists keep the resolution to not drink and drive, AAA will offer its "Tipsy Tow" service over the New Year's celebration.
"Parties and cocktails are a New Year's tradition for many, but with that tradition comes a much higher threat of alcohol-related fatalities on the road," said Linda Gorman, director of communication and public affairs for AAA Arizona. "With our Tipsy Tow service, we can do our part to offer a sound solution for drivers to get home, making the road safer for everyone."
To take advantage of AAA's Tipsy Tow, drivers, passengers, party hosts, bartenders and/or restaurant managers should call 1-800-AAA-HELP (1-800-222-4357) between 6 p.m., Dec. 31, and 6 a.m., Jan. 1, and state they need a "Tipsy Tow." They will need to provide the driver's name, home address, phone number and vehicle/driver location.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, using National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data, looked at alcohol-related fatalities surrounding New Year's from 2000 through 2009, and discovered the following:
• On New Year's Day, nearly 150 percent more people were killed in alcohol-related crashes than on the same day of the week on other weeks during the year-end holiday season.
• On New Year's Eve, 25 percent more people were killed in alcohol-related crashes than on the same day of the week than other weeks during the year-end holiday season.
• Roughly 85 percent of these cases involved a driver whose blood alcohol content (BAC) was over .08 - the legal limit.
According to the foundation's Traffic Safety Culture Index, one in 10 drivers has admitted to having driven when they thought that their alcohol level might have been close to or possibly over the legal limit within the past 12 months, despite nearly universal disapproval for such behavior. Just over half of those drivers admitted to having done so more than once in this time frame.
To put an end to that behavior, AAA is asking motorists to visit TakeThePledge.AAA.com to sign a quick online pledge to drive only while drug- and alcohol-free this holiday season and all year. Once you've taken the free pledge, you can share it via Facebook and Twitter, or even send personalized E-cards to encourage others to do the same.
To help keep your pledge, Tipsy Tow provides a one-way ride for the driver, one passenger and their vehicle at no cost for up to 10 miles. Services will not be provided to motorists requesting a tow to another drinking establishment or to a destination other than their home. A tow to a hotel may be allowed if the motorists is, or plans to become, a guest.
Other services that will not be provided include: requests for a vehicle start, flat tire change, gas delivery and/or taxi service. For trips longer than 10 miles, motorists can expect to be charged the towing company's standard rate.