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AAA offers rides for St. Patrick’s

Staff Reports • Updated Mar 17, 2018 at 12:00 PM

NASHVILLE – With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Saturday this year, festivals and celebrations will likely see larger-than-normal crowds, with more vehicles and pedestrians on the roadways. 

According to AAA public affairs specialist Megan Osborne, the auto club group company will partner with Anheuser-Busch to offer the Tow to Go program, offering free rides from Friday through Sunday.

“Heading out to celebrate without a plan for getting home safely can be a recipe for disaster,” said Osborne. “Too many lives are lost in alcohol-involved crashes and we want to make sure everyone gets home to their loved ones this weekend.”

The program is available to AAA members and non-members in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota, Nebraska, Tennessee, Wisconsin and parts of Indiana. 

To use the service, call 855-286-9246 and a tow truck will take a vehicle and the driver to a safe location within 10 miles. 

“The Tow to Go program saves lives,” said managing director of traffic safety advocacy for AAA and executive director of the Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation Amy Stracke. “This year marks the 20th anniversary of AAA’s partnership with Anheuser-Busch, and together we have built a unique program that provides safe rides home to hundreds of drivers every year.”

Since its inception in 1998, the Tow to Go program has safely removed more than 25,000 impaired drivers from roads across the Southeast and Midwest. It is designed to be a safety net for motorists who did not plan ahead when drinking away from home on celebratory holidays. The program is offered based on the availability of AAA drivers and tow trucks during times of high call volume. The Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation provides Tow to Go to help keep all motorists safe from the dangers of impaired driving. 

“The Tow to Go program is an effective way to promote the use of designated drivers and help prevent impaired driving,” said vice-president of corporate social responsibility for Anheuser-Busch Katja Zastrow. “We are proud to partner with AAA and their roadside assistance drivers to help keep our roads safe.”

Metro-Nashville police officers will be staffing a sobriety checkpoint on 8th Avenue just south of downtown late Saturday night into early Sunday as part of the MNPD’s effort to enhance traffic safety during St. Patrick’s Day. 

The checkpoint will be staffed by the DUI unit along with extra-duty officers working through a grant from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. 

Those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day are strongly urged to not drink and drive. Officers throughout the city will be closely watching for impaired and/or aggressive motorists. 

State troopers will also utilize traffic safety enforcement tools including saturation patrols and sobriety and seat belt checkpoints, to help reduce serious injury and fatal crashes during the holiday weekend. 

“St. Patrick’s Day is the unofficial kickoff to spring and spring break celebrations,” said Tennessee Highway Patrol Col. Tracy Trott. “The THP will have enforcement activities planned throughout the weekend. Our enforcement efforts will focus on traffic violations that are hazardous. We will not tolerate driving reckless or under the influence. These actions endanger yourself as well as others. We have a responsibility to ensure the public’s safety, and we hope our visibility and enforcement techniques will encourage motorists to obey traffic laws.”

During last year’s St. Patrick’s Day enforcement period, the THP made 103 impaired driving arrests statewide. Seven people died in traffic crashes during the holiday period, and four of those fatalities were alcohol related. 

State troopers have made 1,434 DUI arrests in 2018. Preliminary statistics indicate that 162 people have died on Tennessee roads, compared to 187 fatalities during the same period in 2017. 

THP scheduled checkpoints can be viewed at tn.gov/safety/article/checkpoints.

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