AAA program offers free tow home for impaired Utahns on New Year’s Eve

Posted at 3:51 PM, Dec 31, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-31 17:52:59-05

SALT LAKE CITY — New Year’s Eve means a time to party for many, and AAA in Utah is offering a free program aimed at making sure those who are too impaired to drive safely have an alternative way to get home.

AAA’s Tipsy Tow program is open to everyone, not just AAA members, and the service will be offered from 6 p.m. December 31 until 6 a.m. January 1 across Utah.

The free service offers a one-way ride for the driver and their vehicle to the driver’s home, as long as the trip is within the 10-mile limit. Additional passengers may accompany the driver, if there is room in the tow truck.

Potential drivers or passengers–as well as party hosts, bar tenders and restaurant employees–can call 800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) to set up the free ride. The program does not allow for reservations, so the press release urges potential users to keep the number handy before going out. The press release states: “Just tell the AAA operator, ‘I need a Tipsy Tow,’ and a truck will be on its way.”

“Everybody wants to have fun at a New Year’s party,” said Rolayne Fairclough, spokesperson for AAA Utah. “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.”

The press release states that data from 2010 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes, which amounts to one death on average every 51 minutes.

AAA estimates that a DUI conviction for a first time offense can cost up to $12,000 in fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees and insurance expenses. The press release also notes that even legally prescribed medications can impair a driver.

“Just because a doctor prescribes a drug, or you can purchase it over-the-counter doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe to use while driving,” Fairclough stated. “Always discuss potential side effects and interactions with your doctor or pharmacist before getting behind the wheel.”

For details about medications that can cause impairment, click here.