BIRMINGHAM, AL – As Alabamians celebrate on the 4th of July, AAA Alabama cautions partygoers against getting behind the wheel after the champagne toast. To save lives and promote safe driving this holiday, AAA Alabama and wrecker services across the state will again offer Tow-for-Life. This public service program provides free towing services to keep impaired drivers off the road.
This is the 32nd year for the program, and the service is provided to AAA members and non-members alike. AAA does not condone drinking and driving and encourages all motorists to act responsibly to keep drunk drivers off the road throughout the holidays. The program begins at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, July 4th and continues until 6:00 AM on Thursday, July 5th.
"This is a dangerous time of year to be on the roads," says Clay Ingram, AAA Alabama spokesperson. "We want to raise awareness and encourage people to plan ahead when celebrating. It is important to make arrangements before you go out, so that you aren't making these decisions after you have been drinking. We want help keep impaired drivers off the roads, so if you or someone you know has too much to drink on 4th of July, just call 1-800-AAA-HELP and we'll help get you home safely."
In fact, wreckers are usually among the first at the scene of deadly crashes where alcohol has been involved and July 4th is traditionally one of the most dangerous days of the year to drive. AAA encourages party-goers who drink alcohol to appoint a designated driver and party hosts should prevent guests from driving after drinking by calling a taxi to take them home, allowing the guest to spend the night or by making other arrangements to keep them safe.
To receive free towing on July 4th:
- Call AAA Alabama at 1-800-222-4357 (1-800-AAA-HELP) and ask for Tow-for-Life. The vehicle must be operable to qualify for a free tow.
- The operator will ask for the driver’s name, home address, telephone number and exact location of the vehicle and driver.
- A tow truck will be dispatched and upon arrival the wrecker driver will ask for identification and the keys to the vehicle.
- The vehicle will be towed to the home of the driver or owner if the owner is present.
- Towing is provided at NO CHARGE up to 10 miles.
While the holidays make for a timely reason to raise the visibility of alcohol-related fatalities, AAA also continues to spread the message to not drink and drive in response to feedback from its members—who represent one in every four households—citing impaired driving as their greatest safety concern. And they're not alone. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's latest Traffic Safety Culture Index reveals that 97 percent of drivers consider impaired driving to be unacceptable. Despite that fact, Americans continue to drink and drive. Alcohol-impaired drivers make up about one-third of motor vehicle deaths.
"We've all heard that a DUI conviction can cost you financially. Legal fees, bail and other related expenses can amount to more than $10,000," says Ingram. "But impaired driving can have a cost that impacts more than the wallet. Getting behind the wheel after drinking can lead to life-altering outcomes." AAA reminds motorists of the true costs of impaired driving:
It can cost you your life. In 2009, 10,839 people lost their lives in alcohol-related traffic crashes. That's about one death every 48 minutes.
It can cost another's life. Alcohol-related traffic crashes don't only affect the impaired driver. One-third of alcohol-involved traffic fatalities are passengers, occupants in other vehicles or pedestrians.
It can cost you your freedom. A first-time DUI conviction can result in a six-to 12-month jail sentence, more for repeat offenders and for impaired drivers who injure or kill someone in a crash. Monitoring bracelets, ignition interlock equipment, license revocation and probation also place restrictions on your life.
AAA works year round to educate motorists about driving practices that will help keep them safe and reduce traffic-related crashes and the injuries that can result. PreventDUI.AAA.com is an online resource offering impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice. Once there, AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.
With eleven offices across Alabama and more than one thousand offices nationwide, AAA is North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization. AAA provides travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services to more than 393,000 Alabama members and more than 59 million members nationwide. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at www.AAA.com.