By Darla Shelden
Free AAA Oklahoma Tipsy Tow services are again available for the holidays with particular emphasis on New Year’s Eve. This service is offered to AAA members and nonmembers alike.
AAA Oklahoma will give the driver, their car, and one more person a free ride home, up to 15 miles from point of pick-up, if holiday partiers feel unsafe behind the wheel after drinking.
“It’s never a good idea to drive after drinking,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “You’re really rolling the dice. Not only do you put yourself and others in jeopardy, but now with Oklahoma’s tough new DUI law, the Erin Swezey Act, even first-time offenders with a blood alcohol level of 0.15 percent or higher face up to six months administrative license suspension along with 18 months of having a mandatory ignition interlock device attached to their car after driving privileges are reinstated. The penalties for repeat offenders are even stiffer.”
AAA is offering Tipsy Tow in metropolitan Tulsa and Oklahoma City as well as in Shawnee, Muskogee, Enid, Bartlesville and Lawton. The free service became available on Dec. 16, and runs until 2:00 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 2.
“We’re always hopeful that more and more Oklahomans will call us for a Tipsy Tow,” said Mai. “Because we know many holiday partiers go ahead and take that chance behind the wheel when they really know they shouldn’t.”
Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel said, “I urge people to be responsible if their plans include alcohol during the holidays. I would encourage our citizens to “Choose Your Ride” and hopefully choose a designated driver or cab or even a tow truck. The alternatives are the back seat of a Sheriff’s cruiser or Police car, an ambulance or a hearse. Those who drink and drive will be arrested and jailed, hopefully before they have the opportunity to injure or kill an innocent person or family who wind up as an unintended target. Celebrate responsibly and enjoy the holidays.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, every day almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes.
According to Mai, AAA Oklahoma anticipates it will also come to the aid of 5,800 stranded motorists in Oklahoma during the year-end holiday period, as 787,500 Oklahomans take to the highways for holiday trips between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2. Nationwide, AAA expects to come to the aid of more than 800,000 stranded members during the 11-day period.
“Whether you are planning a local day trip or long distance year-end holiday travel, breaking down is a real mood-buster,” said Mai. “Timely vehicle maintenance is the solution.”
AAA projects its roadside problem-solvers will be able to remedy the issues of more than three out of five stranded motorists at the scene of the breakdown and send them on their way, but almost 40 percent will need a tow.
After the need for a tow, the second most common roadside rescue service AAA anticipates performing is replacing or jump starting dead batteries, followed by getting members back into locked cars, changing flat tires, performing extrications and delivering fuel.
AAA members who are Android and iPhone users can download AAA Roadside, a mobile smartphone application that enables motorists in need of a roadside rescue to request help without making a phone call.
A not-for-profit organization, AAA Oklahoma serves its 357,000 members across Oklahoma with emergency help on the road, auto travel assistance and a wide range of personal insurance, travel, financial and automotive services through its 43 retail branches, and regional operations center.
Dial (800) 222-4357 (AAA-HELP) to ask for Tipsy Tow service or visit www.AAA.com for more information about membership rates and other roadside services.
AAA offers Tipsy Tow service as well as other roadside aid to holiday drivers
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