AAA Texas encourages everyone who is of legal drinking age, and plans to have alcoholic beverages to celebrate Independence Day, to plan ahead. AAA Texas advises those who plan to consume alcohol to designate a non-drinking driver, call for a cab or approved ride-sharing service, or plan an overnight stay before having their first drink. As a last resort, AAA Texas will offer a free community service called Tipsy Tow which aims to keep drinking drivers off the road. The service will be available statewide from 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 4 through 6:00 a.m. on Friday, July 5, 2019.
Drivers, bartenders, restaurant managers, party hosts or passengers of a drinking driver may call 1-800-222-4357 or 1-800-AAA-HELP for a free tow home of up to 10 miles. Callers simply request a Tipsy Tow and will receive the free tow and ride home. A regular AAA Texas-contracted roadside service truck will be dispatched. For rides more than 10 miles, drivers should expect to pay the rate charged by the tow truck contractor. The passenger and tow truck driver should agree in advance what the excess mileage charges will be and the method of payment, prior to the tow.
You do not have to be a AAA member to use the Tipsy Tow service however it is only for a one-way, one-time ride for a driver and tow for that driver’s vehicle. Please keep in mind the following situations do not qualify for a Tipsy Tow:
- A request to tow an inoperable vehicle.
- A request to tow to another drinking establishment, repair facility or any other location other than the driver’s home or hotel where they are a registered guest.
- A request to start a vehicle, change a flat tire or deliver gas.
- A request for a “taxi” service or to transport anyone other than the driver of the vehicle.
Impaired Driving in Texas
Twenty people were killed in alcohol-related crashes during the 2017 Independence Day holiday period, according to the latest statistics available from Texas Department of Transportation. Overall, impaired driving remains a serious problem on Texas roadways. In 2017, there were 1,024 people killed in motor vehicle crashes where a driver was under the influence of alcohol (latest statistics available).
In addition, AAA Texas offers the following reminders to keep yourself and others safe and prevent drunk driving arrests this 4th of July.
- At social events, designate non-drinking drivers who can get everyone home safely.
- Do not serve alcohol to anyone under age 21.
- Call a friend or family member for a ride home if you’ve been drinking.
- Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
- Save a cab company’s phone number in your mobile device or wallet so you can easily call for a ride home.
- As a party host and good friend or loving family member, offer a variety of non-alcoholic drink alternatives, serve food as well as dessert and coffee, and provide a gift to guests who volunteer to be designated drivers.
- Have a back-up plan to spend the night at the party instead of driving home under the influence.
- Take the car keys away from friends and relatives who have had too much to drink.
- If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 (or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself).
- Remember: prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs can also impair your ability to drive safely.
Distracted Driving in Texas
B-ROLL Links (password for all is Intexticated):
While impaired driving kills more people on an annual basis, distracted driving is a growing traffic-safety concern across Texas and the United States. “Don’t Drive Intoxicated – Don’t Drive Intexticated” is the theme of AAA’s new multimedia traffic safety education campaign created to make distracted driving socially unacceptable.
AAA Texas encourages all motorists to eliminate distracted driving by following these tips:
- Put it away. Place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation.
- Know where you’re going. If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving.
- Pull over. If you have to call or text while on the road, pull off the road safely and stop first.
- Ask passengers for help. If riding with someone, seek their help to navigate, make a call or send a message.
- Be a good passenger. Speak out if the driver of your vehicle is distracted.
- Don’t be a distraction. Avoid calling or texting others when you know they are driving.
- Everyone should prevent being intexticated. Just as drivers need to pay attention, so do pedestrians and bicyclists. Never call, text or play games while walking or cycling.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 59 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA Texas branch offices throughout the state can be found by visiting www.AAA.com. Follow AAA Texas on Twitter: @AAATexas and Facebook: www.facebook.com/AAATexas. Find additional news from AAA Texas in our online newsroom at http://tx-aaa.iprsoftware.com/.