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Intoxicated motorists have an option

For many who may find themselves having consumed more holiday spirits than they can handle –– and still drive, there is a safe alternative available this weekend.

AAA’s and Budweiser’s Tow to Go program will assist in keeping the roads safer during New Year’s weekend, through Monday, Jan. 2, according to the program’s spokeswoman, Joanna Newton. She said the program has removed more than 16,000 drunk drivers from the roads since its inception in 1998.

Tow to Go, she said, gives motorists a confidential ride and tow home from any bar or restaurant –– for free. Any driver, who is intoxicated at either of these venues, can take advantage of the program by dialing 1-800-AAA-HELP (4357), she explained.

The program, said Newton, is available throughout Georgia, Florida and west and middle Tennessee. The free public service is funded through donations to the Auto Club South Traffic Safety Foundation, she added, and is designed to be used by motorists as a last option. It is offered, based on the availability of AAA’s service technicians and tow trucks, during high-call-volume times.

“The busiest weekend of the year for the Tow to Go program is New Year’s, as you can imagine, since so many folks are out celebrating the holiday,” said Newton. “We are pleased we can offer the program again this year.”

AAA, she said, encourages those hosting a holiday party to follow the tips below, so guests can enjoy New Year’s, responsibly:

• Plan ahead to accommodate guests

Party hosts, she said, should stimulate their guests to find a designated driver before arriving to the festivities. If they don’t have a designated driver, or have had too much to drink, contact a taxi for them or ask them to spend the night, she said.

• Offer drink options for everyone

Newton said guests should have the option to drink non-alcoholic beverages, such as soda, tea or water. Hosts should also provide food throughout the party, so guests don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach.

• Serve one drink at a time

Do not refresh unfinished glasses, because people can lose track of how much alcohol they are consuming, she said.

“The Tow to Go program is a simple and effective way to promote the use of designated drivers and help prevent drunk driving,” added Kathy Casso, vice president of corporate social responsibility for Anheuser-Busch.

For more information about the Tow to Go program, visit www.autoclubsouth.aaa.com.