AAA offers 'last resort' free service to avoid drunken driving St. Patrick's Day weekend

Hani Barghouthi
The Detroit News

Michiganians who find they should not drive after St. Patrick's Day celebrations this weekend can call AAA to get both them and their cars to safety, the organization announced Wednesday. 

The "Tow to Go" program, enacted in Michigan through the Dearborn-based Auto Club Group, will offer free, confidential rides for one person and their vehicle from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Monday. It is available for both AAA members and non-members. 

Drivers can call (855) 286-9246 for a safe ride. 

Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers, according to AAA. Around 28 people in the U.S. die in drunk-driving crashes every day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or one person every 52 minutes.

Revelers are urged to choose a designated driver or make other plans, and turn to Tow to Go "as a last resort." 

“Driving impaired doesn’t only endanger yourself, but risks the lives of all the adults and children you share the road with,” Adrienne Woodland, spokeswoman for AAA, said in a statement.

AAA has removed more than 25,000 impaired drivers from roads, Woodland said. 

The association will transport one person and their vehicle to a safe location within a 10 miles radius. Additional passengers need to make other arrangements.

Appointments cannot be scheduled in advance to use Tow to Go. 

In some situations, other arrangements to get an impaired individual a safe ride home may be made, AAA said, and the service may not be available in rural areas or during severe weather conditions.

The service will also be available in Florida; Iowa; North Dakota; Nebraska; Tennessee; Wisconsin; Georgia, excluding Savannah; Denver, Colorado; Charlotte, North Carolina, and Fort Wayne and South Bend, Indiana.