By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – For the 28th year in a row, AAA Oklahoma will offer its free Tipsy Tow community service for year-end holiday partiers. The program gives intoxicated drivers a better option than getting behind the wheel and creating a danger for themselves and others.
AAA is urging holiday revelers to call the auto club if they have had too much to drink and feel unsafe behind the wheel. “Tipsy Tow,” AAA Oklahoma’s community service program, will give up to two people and their vehicle a ride home at no charge, no questions asked.
“There are just too many alternatives to climbing behind the wheel after drinking,” said Leslie Gamble, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “For some, even one drink can cause impaired responses that can jeopardize lives and turn the most wonderful time of the year into a nightmare.”
Based on past year’s data, AAA is ready to come to the rescue of more than 1.1 million motorists nationwide, including 7,900 in Oklahoma.
In last year’s four-day Christmas holiday weekend alone, 27 people were killed or seriously injured in alcohol-related crashes in the state, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.
These travel numbers mark the highest forecast growth rate for year-end holidays since 2009 and the highest travel volume on record for the holiday period, AAA reports.
Tipsy Tow is open to everyone, AAA members and non-members alike, in metropolitan Oklahoma City, metropolitan Tulsa, Muskogee, Enid, Lawton, Shawnee, Bartlesville, Tahlequah and Ardmore.
To use AAA Oklahoma’s free Tipsy Tow service, which is available now through Monday, January 1 at 4 a.m., call 800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) and asking for Tipsy Tow.
The free service is available 24/7 during the 16+-day period. AAA will take you and your vehicle home – up to 15 miles from point of pick-up.
“The first ability affected by alcohol is judgment and decision-making,” said Gamble. “For some people, it only takes one drink for reflexes and judgment needed for driving to be impaired. It’s not a weakness. It’s a reality.”
According to AAA, each year in Oklahoma, 35 percent of all traffic crashes involve drugs or alcohol. Over the holidays, that number often jumps to more than 40 percent.
According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, 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 51 minutes.
Along with Tipsy Tow, AAA also promotes the use of designated drivers and a caring attitude and heightened awareness among drivers across Oklahoma. A not-for-profit organization, AAA Oklahoma serves its 390,000 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 branch offices, a regional operations center and the Internet at AAA.com.