Drivers who drink to celebrate the new year at bars in Pierce County can get a free tow home through New Year’s Day.
Thirteen tow companies are offering free tows up to five miles to keep impaired drivers off the road.
“I see the results of DUI or drunk drivers either getting killed or killing someone else,” said Greg Dreiling, owner of Liberty Towing in University Place, who’s spearheading the effort. “We just want to keep them off the road, keep them safe and other people safe.”
There’s no central phone number for the program, called Holiday Tow and Go. Drivers can simply ask a bartender to call one of the participating companies for a tow.
Truck operators have distributed fliers about Tow and Go to some 300 of the 600 bars and taverns in Pierce County, said Gloria Mansfield Averill, coordinator of the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force.
A five-mile tow typically costs about $100, Dreiling said. If a tow is longer, truck operators will charge their standard rate of $4 for each additional mile, he said.
Tow and Go is one of several programs — including stepped-up DUI law-enforcement patrols and free cab rides — of the DUI task force. They all aim “to reduce death and injury,” said Mansfield Averill.
Already this holiday season, a karaoke taxi company in Tacoma — Aloha Cab Co. — gave 35 free taxi rides home to drinkers from Dec. 5-23, said owner Daniel Sibbett.
Tuesday will mark the end of the free-tow period, which started on Dec. 15. From 25 to 50 drivers usually receive free tows during the holidays each year.
Dreiling said Friday that his company already had provided five free tows since Dec. 15.
Inexplicably, no one was towed last year through the program, despite bars being notified.
Mansfield Averill said it’s unusual for an area to have so many companies willing to offer free rides. “The towers pay for this out of their pockets,” she said.
Tow and Go focuses on bars and uses bartenders so that a third party can be involved in helping arrange a ride home. The program is not meant to substitute for celebratory drinkers arranging a designated driver at a New Year’s Eve party.
Former Liberty Towing owner Bill Sullivan started Tow and Go in Pierce County more than 20 years ago. Dreiling took it over this year after he bought Sullivan’s company.
The goal is to save lives, Mansfield Averill said.
“A lot of drivers do not want to leave their cars behind,” she said.
They don’t want the hassle of retrieving their car the next day and they may be concerned about their vehicle’s security, she said.
With two days to go, Dreiling said he’s hoping to give out more free tows to drinkers and “keep people off the road.”Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647