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AAA OFFERS TIPSY TOWS.

Byline: Daily News

SANTA CLARITA - Free rides home for tipsy motorists and tows for their cars will be offered New Year's Eve for revelers who drink too much to drive.

The Automobile Club of Southern California is offering its Tipsy Tow service from 6 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday, the organization's efforts to keep drunks off the road.

Motorists, bartenders, restaurant managers, party hosts or passengers of a drinking driver can call (800) 400-4222 for a free tow home up to seven miles. Callers simply tell the Auto Club operator, ``I need a Tipsy Tow,'' to receive the free tow and ride home, and a regular Auto Club-contracted emergency road service truck will be dispatched.

Callers should 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. Drivers can expect to pay the rate charged by the tow-truck contractor for rides farther than seven miles.

``Alcohol consumption contributes to four traffic-related deaths each day and an injury every 17 minutes in California,'' said Kelly Clark, manager of the Auto Club's Santa Clarita district office. ``Over the past five years, a statewide average of 130 people have been killed or injured in alcohol-related crashes each day during the New Year's holiday period.''

Based on recent years, the Auto Club estimates that 150 to 175 people statewide will be killed or injured in alcohol-related crashes this year during the New Year's holiday period, Clark said.

Drinking drivers frequently don't plan for other ways to get home, because they are concerned about retrieving their vehicle. They cite the expense of taxis and time inconvenience as the major reasons they don't use alternative transportation. Tipsy Tow provides motorists with a safe ride home instead of driving while intoxicated, she said.

``People may think they know how much to drink and still stay in control, but it only takes a drink or two to slow physical and mental skills and affect vision, steering, braking, judgment and reaction,'' Clark said. ``As a result, about 185,000 Californians were arrested for driving under the influence in 2000, which translates to one person every 2.9 minutes. We'd like to reduce that number and make roads and highways safer for motorists.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 28, 2002
Words:389
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