AAA's 'Tipsy Tow' gives free tow, ride home on July 4

Posted at 1:53 PM, Jul 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-04 17:07:36-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - AAA is also reminding drivers of a popular service for motorists who need a ride July 4, but may not be able to drive home.

For the 20th year, the auto club's "Tipsy Tow" service returns Tuesday, offering a last resort for drivers who shouldn't be behind the wheel.

The service is available from 6 p.m. Tuesday through 6 a.m. Wednesday, July 5. Drivers can dial 1-800-400-4AAA (or, 4222) for a free tow home of up to seven miles. Ride further than seven miles may incur an extra charge.

Callers simply tell the operator "I need a Tipsy Tow," and an Auto Club-contracted roadside service truck will be dispatched. Free rides, however, are only available to drivers, not passengers, and is limited to a one-way, one-time ride to the driver's residence.

AAA also reminds drivers of simple ways to avoid DUI arrests:

  • Before and at social events, designate non-drinking drivers who can get everyone home safely.
  • Do not serve alcohol to anyone under age 21.
  • Call a friend or family member for a ride home if you’ve been drinking.
  • Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
  • Keep a cab company telephone number in your wallet or cell so you can call for a ride home. There are also apps available to secure a ride home as well.
  • As a party host and good friend or loving family member, offer a variety of non-alcoholic “mocktail” drinks, serve food as well as dessert and coffee and provide a gift to guests who volunteer to be designated drivers. Plan for and allow guests stay overnight.
  • Create a backup plan to spend the night at the party instead of driving home under the influence.
  • Take car keys away from friends and relatives who have been drinking.
  • 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.

"It only takes one or two drinks to slow physical and mental skills that affect vision, steering, braking judgment, and reaction time,” Auto Club’s Community Programs and Traffic Safety Manager Anita Lorz Villagrana said in a release. "Drivers should be aware that the CHP and law enforcement agencies are likely using sobriety checkpoints and extra patrols to look for drinking drivers during the holiday."

San Diego law enforcement agencies are reminding motorists to drive safely and responsibly, during a busy holiday weekend throughout the county.

California Highway Patrol Tuesday released statistics on DUI-related incidents on the road, gathered between June 30 (6 p.m.) to July 4 (6 a.m.)

CHP officers have arrested 54 people and two people have died in San Diego County over the holiday weekend, according to the statistics. This compares to 79 arrests and one death in 2016.

Statewide, CHP officers have arrested 1083 drivers and 35 people have died in DUI-related incidents.