AAA Arizona offering free "Tipsy Tow" service for Labor Day

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- AAA Arizona is once again offering its popular "Tipsy Tow" service on a holiday that's known as summer's last hurrah -- Labor Day.

The service will be available starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Sept. 5, and run through 6 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 6.

“As Arizonans enjoy end-of-summer festivities this weekend, we want to discourage them from getting behind the wheel if they have been drinking,” said AAA Arizona Public Affairs Director Linda Gorman in a news release. “Tipsy Tow provides a simple solution for getting motorists home safely while making the roads safer for everyone.”

All it takes is a call to 1-800-AAA-HELP (1-800-222-4357) and the words, "I need a Tipsy Tow." You can get a free ride home -- up to 10 miles -- for you and your car, and you don't even have to be an AAA member.

Launched in 2009, this is the only free program of its kind in Arizona.

While the tow truck operators will take the driver, one passenger, and the driver's vehicle to the driver's home, they will not provide transportation to another drinking establishment, event or any other location. The one exception to the destination rule is a hotel where the driver is already staying or is planning to stay.

Trips longer than 10 miles will be charged at the towing company's standard rate.

According to a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Survey, 17 million Americans admitted to drinking and driving at least once in the past year. Experts say it doesn't take much alcohol to cause impaired driving. For some people,  it's as little as one or two drinks.

According to AAA, a first-time DUI conviction can cost more than $10,000 in fines, penalties, restitution, ignition interlock fees, legal fees and increased insurance costs.