AAA offers free tows for New Year’s drunks

AAA Northern California is offering a free “tipsy tow” service on New Year’s Eve for drivers who end up sloshed on alcohol but in need of a ride home.

The service is open to all Bay Area drivers regardless of AAA membership, but reservations are not available. From 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve to 6 a.m. New Year’s Day, drivers who have been drinking can call (800) 222-4357 (AAA-HELP) and ask for a tipsy tow and dispatchers will send a tow truck to their location.

The service includes a one-way ride for the driver and vehicle to the driver’s home, up to 10 miles away from the point of pick-up. Additional passengers, however, will be accommodated only if the there is room in the tow truck.

AAA estimates that DUI convictions for first-time offenders in California can cost up to $12,000 in fines, legal expenses, and increased insurance costs.

Drunk driving crashes represent roughly 36 percent of highway deaths for young people ages 16 to 24, according to 2008 statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.