‘Tipsy Tow’ program available

Published 9:42 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2015

AAA Tidewater is offering intoxicated drivers free rides and tows home through the holiday season.

Tipsy Tow, a program designed to keep impaired drivers off the roads, will run continuously through 6 a.m. Jan. 1 across the Hampton Roads and Peninsula areas, including the cities of Suffolk, Poquoson, Yorktown and Williamsburg, AAA spokeswoman Georjeane Blumling said.

Hampton Roads residents who believe they are too impaired to drive can call AAA Tidewater dispatchers at 631-1700 or 1-800-AAA-HELP and ask for the Tipsy Tow service, Blumling said. It is confidential and available to both AAA members and non-members.

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Callers should know that the service excludes rides for passengers; is restricted to a one-way, one-time ride for the driver and tow for the car; and the only allowable destination is the driver’s residence. Callers cannot make reservations with Tipsy Tow.

The holiday and New Year’s Eve festivities tends to make December one of the most deadly months for alcohol-related traffic crashes and fatalities nationwide, Blumling said. AAA Tidewater has offered Tipsy Tow for the past nine years, both to keep the roads safer and to raise awareness of high crash risk from drinking and driving, she said. The number of people taking advantage of the services increases every year, she said.

Ideally, people should plan ahead and make arrangements if they are drinking alcohol, such as spending the night at their destination or having a designated driver, she said.

“Think about what you are doing so you don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation at all,” Blumling said.

Drivers should expect delays, particularly on New Year’s Day between midnight and 3 a.m. when calls are at their maximum, she added.

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, Blumling said. The Tipsy Tow service eliminates all of those concerns.