Johnson City

Tow-To-Go offers 'last resort' option for drinkers on St. Patrick's Day

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The luck of the Irish may not be with you if you get caught driving drunk.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol made about 70 impaired driving arrests across the state during the 72-hour Saint Patrick's Day holiday period in 2013.

Johnson City's Tipton's Pub assistant manager John Tolliver says he and his bartenders do their best to make sure their customers are not a part of those statistics. "We have a good eye to see who can have another drink and who needs to stop," said Tolliver. "We take precautions to make sure they are still with us, and if not we give them a glass of water and ask first and foremost if they need a cab."

This year, the state had a plan -- for the first time in Northeast Tennessee, the AAA travel agency will provide those who've had a few too many drinks a ride home through its Tow-To-Go program.

AAA's Donna Ottinger tells News 5 tow truck drivers will provide you with a confidential ride home within 10 miles of your pick-up location. "If you haven't made any arrangements prior to going out and drinking, and you can't make any other arrangements to get yourself home, as an alternative last resort you can call a toll-free number and have a tow truck come out and take you and your vehicle home," said Ottinger.

People we spoke with tell us it's a proactive approach to preventing tragedies on a holiday known for drinking. "I think it's an amazing idea. I wish the idea could happen all week long for people, because it would cut down on the DUIs," said Tipton's Pub customer Dean Stewart.

"Knowing that your car and you are going to get home safely after a long night of doing whatever you want to do, by all means, let's get that going," said Tolliver.

The toll-free number is 855-286-9246 or 855-2-TOW-2-GO. The service is open to AAA members and non-AAA members who live in Tennessee.

The program lasts through Tuesday night.

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