Drive sober tonight

Published 9:46 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Now that 2014 is almost over and New Year’s Eve is here, AAA Tidewater Virginia is reminding folks about its “Tow to Go” program that offers free rides and tows to folks who have had too much to drink.

Though the program should not be a substitute for arranging alternate transportation or a designated driver beforehand, it is a viable option for those who find themselves not having done so before they went out drinking.

“This program is invaluable,” said Georjeane Blumling, vice president of public affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “It brings attention to the dangers of drinking and driving beyond just giving an intoxicated driver a safe ride home. We want motorists to be aware of the high crash risk from drinking and driving associated with holidays.”

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The service will be available until 6 a.m. on Jan. 1. It is free and available to anyone, whether or not they are members of AAA. The AAA tow truck will take the vehicle and the driver to the driver’s home.

It excludes rides for passengers, and the destination is limited to the driver’s residence. The service is available only within the greater Hampton Roads area, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, Yorktown, and Williamsburg.

To get a Tow to Go, call 757-631-1700 or 1-800-AAA-HELP.

AAA also provides these tips to avoid an arrest or a tragedy:

  • At social events, 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’s telephone number in your wallet so you can call for a ride home.
  • As a party host, offer a variety of non-alcoholic drink alternatives, provide a gift to guests who volunteer to be designated drivers and arrange transportation through programs, such as Tow To Go, for guests who have been drinking.
  • Take the car keys away from friends and relatives who have had too much to drink.

The Virginia State Police also are reminding drivers to drive sober.

“The fact that alcohol-related deaths and injuries on Virginia’s highways are decreasing is encouraging, but we still need all drivers to get the message,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent. “Drunk driving isn’t a victimless crime. You could kill yourself or someone else, or get a DUI and go to jail. We need every driver to make smart, safe and sober decisions. Let’s drive to save lives in these remaining weeks of 2014.”

One arrest for drunken driving will lead to the driver facing jail time, fines, loss of their driver’s license, towing fees and other expenses that total $10,000 on average.