JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ill. (WSIL) --- The National Safety Council says 40% of fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver during the New Year's Holiday period.
A local tow company in Jefferson County is helping keep the roads safe by offering free tows home.
Rick's Towing in Mount Vernon offers free New Year's Eve tows. Beverly Heck is the shop's co-owner and says it's a tradition that started with her late husband.
"My husband had some friends in California that got killed on New Year's Eve, so he started this to try to keep everybody safe," Heck said.
She shared that it's a little tricky for her around this time.
"This year, my husband's gone for the fourth year. It's tradition. Makes it a little hard," Heck said.
Daniel Heck is her son and says his family and friends volunteer their time.
"It's me,” Heck says “I got seven brothers and, of course, my mom, and she's the one that does all the phone answering and dispatching for us. And then I have probably four buddies that come and help us."
Heck recalls they had 37 calls last year.
"The year before we had 47. Last year we had like 13 at one bar that we had went and picked them up,"Heck said.
He says they will get people from bars or residential parties, and they take the people with the cars.
"So last year, we'd got a couple of people together, and we'd put them, the folks, in their car, and then we had the other ones on the tow trucks," Heck said.
Heck says that continuing the tradition is their way of giving back to Jefferson County.
"That's what we do when it's snowing and all that stuff,” Heck says. “But you know, just to be able to actually help somebody and know they'll get home safe to their family is the most important thing."
Heck said they will start taking calls for the free tows at 7 p.m. on New Year's Eve and go until 3 a.m. on New Year's Day.