TAMPA BAY, Fla — Though several New Year’s Eve celebrations in the Tampa Bay Area have been canceled or scaled back, some of you still plan on raising a glass to 2022.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, new year drunk driving deaths exceed those of any other day of the year.
“Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of getting behind the wheel while they’re impaired. Sometimes it’s because they just don’t want to leave their vehicle at a bar,” said Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesperson.
You should always choose a designated driver before you have your first drink.
If you are participating in New Year's Eve festivities tonight, and did not plan ahead, AAA offers a free Tow to Go program to anyone who is impaired.
When you call (855) 2-TOW-2-GO or (855) 286-9246, AAA will take you and your vehicle up to 10 miles to your home or a safe location.
“Use this service as a last resort. Keep in mind that our roadside technicians will be very busy responding to emergency calls, so please identify a safe ride home before you go out and party,” Jenkins said.
Another alternative to driving under the influence and risking your life and the lives of others on the road, is to use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft.
“Uber is cheap. A lot cheaper than the county jail and a DUI,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
After a deadly week following the Christmas holiday, with 8 people killed in car crashes in Polk County within two days, Sheriff Grady Judd is urging partygoers to call the sheriff’s office if all else fails.
"If you can't get a ride anywhere else home, before you get behind the wheel of that vehicle, call us,” Judd said.