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Tow truck drivers keeping roads safe for holidays

LAWRENCEVILLE - The holidays and low temperatures are here, and it's time for eggnog and hot toddies, so local police officers and Georgia companies are offering advice and help, making sure imbibing those tasty drinks doesn't lead to unsafe driving.

AAA Auto Club South and Anheuser-Busch Co. are teaming up to offer a safe ride home for bar-hoppers and restaurantgoers in metro Atlanta who may have had too much to drink.

The two companies have created Tow to Go, where AAA tow truck drivers give tipsy drivers - and their vehicle - a ride home.

Joanna Newton, senior project manager, public and government relations for AAA Auto Club South, said the Tow to Go services will start taking calls beginning tonight and continuing through New Year's Day.

She added that over the past eight years the services have been provided, Tow to Go drivers have kept more than 5,500 drunken drivers off the roads.

Although the company's services are provided to those in the metro Atlanta area, Newton said AAA won't turn down a call near Atlanta - it just may take longer to reach certain areas away from the metro area.

The two companies do offer advice along with their service. They said motorists should not rely solely on Tow to Go as a means of transportation if they plan to drink. They suggest making plans to have a designated driver.

"People shouldn't plan to go out and get blitzed because Tow to Go will take them home," said Mandy Llanes, Southeast region manager of consumer awareness and education for Anheuser-Busch Companies. "We're just an alternate last option."

Gwinnett County police officers do not offer rides and said it's best to have a designated driver or alternate transportation if planning to consume alcoholic beverages. They suggest finding a reputable taxi service and having the number on hand in case the service is needed.

"We would encourage anyone who has been drinking to have arrangements ahead of time," said Capt. Jeff Smith, spokesman with the Lawrenceville Police Department. "The worst tragedy of the holidays would be to lose someone to drunk driving."