Time to brush off the old and ring in the new with a ritual of revelry that too often includes one drink too many.
Cast not aside your caution, however, with safety precautions that warrant the occasion should too much merriment lead to impairment.
This New Year's Eve and day — as with every occasion that matches spirits and spiritedness with a drive to and from the festivities — drive only while drug and alcohol-free, select a designated driver for the evening, plan to stay with a friend or take a cab home.
That's the reminder from the American Automobile Association, which offers in Florida, Georgia and West and Middle Tennessee, through the AAA Auto Club South, a "Tow-to-Go" service for members and nonmembers.
(The AAA publishes a nationwide list of AAA clubs offering similar service under such names as, "Tow-for-Life," "TOWEDD" and "Tipsy Tow.")
Florida's Tow-to-Go program for Hillsborough County drivers provides a confidential ride and tow home from any bar or restaurant, free of charge, to anyone who might have had too much to drink. Call: 1-800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP).
“The busiest weekend of the year for the Tow-to-Go program is New Year’s, as you can imagine, since so many folks are out celebrating the holiday,” said AAA spokesperson Joanna Newton, in a Facebook page posted by the Miami-Dade Police Department. “We are pleased we can offer this program again this time of year thanks to the generous support of our partner, Budweiser, and the hard work of our AAA service technicians, who are going to spend New Year’s Eve away from their own families so they can help get as many intoxicated drivers off our roadways as possible.”
AAA Auto Club South notes on its Web site that since 1998, the program has removed 13,600 drunk drivers from the roads. Some 2,400 calls were received in 2010 alone.
The service is provided for the Super Bowl, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Halloween holidays, and for the Thanksgiving through New Year's Day season, which in 2011 started Nov. 24 and runs through Jan. 2.
Other Options For A Safe Ride Home
Those celebrating at area eateries and bars should inquire if the owners provide a free ride home for patrons who are too impaired to drive.
Prefer to call a cab? Here's a list of contact numbers for car services and taxi cab companies serving the Greater Brandon area:
- Brandon Americab Taxi, 813-653-9933
- Best Way Dispatch, 813-684-4545
- Brandon Taxi, 813-655-8294
- Plant City Taxi, 813-655-8294
- United Cab Company, 813-902-3167
- Red Top Cab Company, 813-888-5008
- Payless Taxi, 813-886-7777
- Metro Cars, 1-888-459-7827
- Crown Royal Limousine, 813-265-4213
- Addis Taxi, 813-289-6000