The New Year's holiday is one of the deadliest for alcohol-related traffic deaths, but being prepared before going out for a night of celebratory drinking could help change that.
Daniel Karnes, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma, said last year around the Christmas and New Year's holidays, more calls were made to Tipsy Tow than ever before. He expects the call volume will be high this year, too.
“The New Year's holiday consistently ranks as one of the deadliest days for alcohol-related crashes,” he said. “People go out to celebrate ... maybe have a few too many drinks. That's where Tipsy Tow comes in.”
The service is free to anyone who calls. It provides a free ride home to the driver, one passenger and the vehicle within 15 miles of where they're picked up.
“The responsibility is in the lap of the person who's been drinking,” Karnes said. “Have a designated driver, the number for a cab or Tipsy Tow on hand before you go out.”
Of 700 alcohol-related crashes in Oklahoma City last year, 26 were fatal, and 64 had injuries reported. December had 68 alcohol-related crashes; only April had more, with 69. More than 380 crashes involving alcohol happened between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.
Roscoe Pettitt, a tow-truck driver for AAA in Oklahoma City, said he responds to Tipsy Tow requests as he would any other call.
“We don't know until we are there if it's a Tipsy Tow, stalled vehicle or someone with keys locked in the car,” he said. “It's all anonymous.”
He said usually the rides are entertaining, and he has fun conversations with the people he tows home. He said no one should hesitate to call if they need a ride.
“It feels really good to be helping out this way,” he said. “I hope that people aren't hesitant to call.”
Pettitt said the busiest time for Tipsy Tow calls is between 1 and 4 a.m., around when bars are closing and holiday parties are ending.
“Everyone who calls just wants to get towed home, and they don't want to risk it,” he said. “Last year was definitely the highest call volume that I've ever seen.”
About Tipsy Tow
The free service runs until 2 a.m. Wednesday in metro Tulsa and Oklahoma City, as well as in Lawton, Shawnee, Enid, Bartlesville, Muskogee and Tahlequah.
AAA will send a tow truck to pick up the driver and one passenger, plus the vehicle, and provide a free ride home within 15 miles. The community service is open to AAA members and nonmembers.
Call (800) 222-4357 to request a Tipsy Tow.