Is AAA's "Tipsy Tow" Program for Real?

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AAA Tipsy Tow

AAA Tipsy Tow Service
Netlore Archive: Viral social media posts urge New Year's Eve drinkers to take advantage of AAA's "Tipsy Tow" service, a free program designed to keep drunk drivers off the road. However, the service is not available nationwide. Viral image / Facebook

Description: Viral messages
Circulating since: Dec. 2011
Status: Partly true (details below)

2012 example:
As shared on Facebook, Dec. 31, 2012:

No excuses...Don't drink and drive--and don't ride with anybody who does. Tipsy Tow offered by AAA. You don't have to be an AAA member, from 6pm-6am on New Year's Eve/Day they will take your drunk ass and your car home for FREE. 1,-800-222-4357. Please repost this if you want to!! Nationwide!!


2011 example:
As shared on Facebook, Dec. 30, 2011:

If you're planning on going to any parties on New Year's, pay attention. Don't drink and drive - and don't ride with anybody who does. Tipsy Tow is offered by AAA. You don't have to be a AAA member, from 6pm-6am on New Year's Eve/Day they will take your drunk self and your car home for FREE. Save this number... 1-800-222-4357 . Please re-post this if you don't mind helping save lives. This is nationwide. Drunk driving kills...


Analysis: "Tipsy Tow" (aka "Tow-to-Go" or "Holiday Safe Ride Program") is an actual service provided by AAA on New Year's Eve and other holidays in some U.S. cities and towns. Drinking drivers and their vehicles are transported home free of charge if they call the 800 number above and request it. You don't have to be a member of AAA to make use of the service.

Here's how it works:

During the period Tipsy Tow is available, drivers, potential passengers, party hosts, bartenders, and restaurant managers can call 800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) for a free tow home of up to ten miles. Just tell the AAA operator, "I need a Tipsy Tow," and a truck will be on its way.

The service will provide a one-way ride for the driver and vehicle to the driver's home. If there are additional passengers who need a ride, they will be taken to the driver's home as long is there is sufficient room for them to be transported safely in the tow truck. You cannot make a reservation.

Contrary to what's commonly claimed, however, the Tipsy Tow program is not available nationwide. A list of participating AAA locations is available on the American Automobile Association website. Alternative sober/safe ride programs in other parts of the country are also provided.

FYI: Why You Should Never Drink and Drive

Sources and further reading:

AAA Holiday Safe Ride Program
AAA, December 2015

AAA 'Tipsy Tow' Goes Viral, But Not Available Everywhere
KLTV News, 29 December 2011

Some AAA Clubs Offer Safe Driving Alternatives During New Year's Holiday Weekend
AAA Public Relations, 18 December 2012

Sober Ride Programs
Nationwide list of sober/safe ride programs other than AAA