For the 15th straight year, the Automobile Club of Southern California is offering its free Tipsy Tow service for intoxicated drivers during the July Fourth holiday, the organization announced today.
A free tow home of up to seven miles will be available by calling (800) 400-4222 and telling the operator, "I need a Tipsy Tow," according to an Auto Club statement.
The service, which employs regular auto club-contracted roadside service companies, is available in 13 Southern California counties. It will be available from 6 p.m. Tuesday to 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, the statement said.
There are some limitations, however: passengers don't get rides, the service is limited to a one-way, one-time ride for the driver, and vehicles will only be towed to the driver's residence.
Regular tow service rates apply for any ride longer than seven miles, according to the Auto Club.
"It only takes one or two drinks to slow physical and mental skills that affect vision, steering, braking judgement and reaction time," said Auto Club senior researcher Steve Bloch. He noted that the California Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies will run sobriety checkpoints and extra patrols to look for intoxicated drivers during the holiday period.
Nearly 200,000 drivers were arrested for driving while intoxicated in California in 2010, the last year for which results are available, and a recent survey found that 14 percent of motorists admitted to driving at least once in the past year when they felt they were probably over the legal limit, according to the Auto Club.
"This is entirely preventable," Bloch said.