Don't Drink & Drive; Get A Designated Driver

December 31, 2007 12:00:00 AM PST
More valley people are spending time at home rather than going out this New Year's Eve. The results of an exclusive Action News poll conducted by Survey USA show 63% of responders are going to ring in the New Year at home.

24% say they will be at a friend or relative's house and 13% will be at a bar, restaurant or someplace else.

That poll does reveal a sizable group will be out and about tonight looking to have fun in the valley. And with the party philosophy in mind, some businesses are trying to cut the worry out of driving and provide safe transportation home.

Balloons, disco balls, and liquor; all ingredients for a 2008 New Year's celebration.

Steve Costello, Fresno, says "Start of a new beginning. Try something new hopefully stay working."

But this recipe for many includes alcohol.

In 2005 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said 39% of all traffic deaths were alcohol related. That's 16,885 deaths for the year.

This startling statistic led to the creation of AAA "Tipsy Tow" program.

Intoxicated drivers can call and have their car towed home for free as long as it's within five miles. Anything over 5 miles will cost the owner.

Jose Plascencia with AAA says drivers must be patient. Last year there were some delays for service. AAA received 280 calls on that night.

"When you measure the risk of getting caught driving under the influence of an alcohol beverage versus the inconvenience of a little wait, then you can definitely see the benefit of waiting for a Tipsy Tow," says Plascencia.

Safely Home is another program designed to keep drunk drivers off the road. It's offered year round in Fresno and Clovis.

A designated driver will show up, take your keys and drive you home safely. And other valley businesses are doing what they can to ensure safety for their customers.

Crossroads owner Bob Pierce has already signed up 100 customers to ride his party bus.

For $10 the bus will transport a party of 23 to his bar and back home after New Years.

"So this is our answer to figure out ways to keep the business going, keep the police satisfied with what they need to do and keep the customers safe," says Pierce.

And customers say they appreciate the service. Barbara Edwards, Fresno, says "We feel safer going on the bus and going home. But having a good time too."

    Here are the numbers to call for some of these services:
  • Tipsy Tow
    1-800-AAA-HELP or 222-4357
  • Safely Home
    485-1503.

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