The Automobile Club of Southern California is offering its free Tipsy Tow service for the first time on Super Bowl Sunday, one of the biggest annual sporting events. The community service is available from 6 p.m. on Sunday to 6 a.m. on Monday to help remove drinking drivers from the road. Tipsy Tow is available throughout California by the Auto Club in the 13 Southern California counties it serves and also by AAA Northern California.
Motorists outside of California should check this list for availability in their area.
The Auto Club encourages game day party-goers to plan ahead with a designated driver or sober ride if attending a party or watching the game in a restaurant or bar. Motorists, bartenders, restaurant managers, party hosts or passengers of a drinking driver may also call 1-800-400-4AAA for a free tow home of up to seven miles. Callers simply tell the Auto Club operators, “I need a Tipsy Tow,” to receive the free tow and ride home. A regular Auto Club-contracted roadside service truck will be dispatched. The Auto Club’s free public service is unique in that it transports both the driver and their vehicle.
Make a Sober Ride Game Plan
“Drivers and passengers should be aware of the high crash risk from drinking and driving associated with Super Bowl,” said the Auto Club’s Chief Executive Officer Robert Bouttier. “We encourage everyone to make a plan – designate a sober driver ahead of time, contact a ride-sharing service or use a taxi or public transportation. If those aren’t possible, the Auto Club will be offering Tipsy Tow.”
Callers need to keep in mind that the service excludes rides for passengers, is restricted to a one-way, one-time ride for the driver and the destination is limited to the driver’s residence. Reservations are not accepted. For rides farther than seven miles, drivers can expect to pay the rate charged by the tow truck contractor.
Drinking drivers frequently don’t plan for other ways to get home because they’re concerned about retrieving their vehicle the next day. They cite taxi costs and inconvenience as reasons they don’t use alternate transportation, according to the Auto Club.
Heightened Crash Risk on Game Day
“Drivers should be aware of the high crash risk from drinking and driving associated with Super Bowl Sunday – in fact there is a 77 percent increased risk of alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes throughout California on Super Bowl Sunday,” said Auto Club Community Service and Traffic Safety Manager Anita Lorz Villagrana.
“Drivers should be aware that the California Highway Patrol and law enforcement agencies use sobriety checkpoints and patrols to look for drinking drivers on game day evening,” she added.
California DUI Arrests
California law enforcement officials arrest large numbers of DUI offenders every year. In 2013, an estimated 160,000 drivers were arrested for the offense, enough to fill Dodger Stadium three times. Statewide, 24,000 individuals were killed or injured in alcohol-related crashes in 2013.
DUIs are expensive in terms of time, money and grief not only to the victims but to the families of people convicted of driving under the influence. The Auto Club estimates that a first offense misdemeanor DUI conviction in California can cost approximately $15,649 or more in fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees and increased insurance costs. Costs related to DUI have risen sharply in recent years largely due to a large increase in fines and insurance for DUI drivers. The estimated cost of a first-offense misdemeanor DUI for those under age 21 is $21,500.
To further encourage sports fans not to drink and drive on Super Bowl Sunday, Auto Club Roadside Assistance providers will hand out 15,000 DUI tip cards in Los Angeles County this week.
Game Day Safety Tips
The Auto Club also advises that motorists can keep themselves and others safe and can avoid DUI arrests by keeping these safety tips in mind:
- Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins.
- At social events, designate non-drinking drivers who can get everyone home safely.
- Never serve alcohol to those under age 21. It’s illegal and dangerous.
- Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who was drinking alcohol – even after one drink.
- Call a friend or family member for a ride home if you’ve been drinking.
- Keep a cab/sober ride telephone number in your cell phone and wallet so you can call for a ride home.
- As a party host, offer non-alcoholic drink alternatives and provide a gift to guests who volunteer to be designated drivers; provide overnight accommodations to guests who’ve been drinking.
- Take the car keys away from friends and relatives who have had too much to drink.
- 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 that prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely and can often sharply increase the impairing effects of alcohol.