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Help ring in New Year safely

Published 11:07pm Thursday, December 27, 2012

With the New Year’s Eve holiday quickly approaching, traffic safety officials are reminding celebrants to ensure they have a safe way to get home after the festivities.

“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,” said AAA Tidewater Virginia spokeswoman Georjeane Blumling.

As part of the solution, AAA Tidewater Virginia is again offering its free Tow To Go service. The service will be available in Suffolk as well as in Portsmouth, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, Yorktown and Williamsburg until 6 a.m. on Jan. 1.

Tows are available only within the specified cities and are open to any driver, regardless of AAA membership. The service provides a ride and tow home for the driver. It excludes rides for passengers, and the destination is limited to the driver’s residence.

“This service is provided free of charge to prevent alcohol-related car crashes,” according to a news release from AAA Tidewater Virginia. “Drinking drivers frequently fail to seek and obtain alternative ways to get home because they are concerned about retrieving their vehicle, the expense of taxis and the inconvenience of alternative transportation.”

Motorists, bartenders, restaurant managers, party hosts or passengers of a drinking driver can call 631-1700 to request the service.

AAA also offered other tips for people to help avoid drinking drivers on New Year’s Eve:

  • Designate a non-drinking driver who can get everyone home safely.
  • Call a friend or family member for a ride if you’ve been drinking.
  • Keep a cab company telephone number, or the Tow To Go number, in your cell phone or another convenient place.
  • Take the car keys away from people who have had too much to drink.
  • If you’re a party host, offer a variety of non-alcoholic drink alternatives, provide gifts to guests who volunteer to be designated drivers and help arrange transportation for guests who have been drinking.
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