(KMAland) -- Nebraska and Iowa are among those participating in a Triple-A service designed to keep impaired drivers off the road.
Officials with Triple-A announced that the "Tow to Go" program is active again beginning Friday at 6 p.m. and runs through 6 a.m. on January 2nd. Brian Ortner is Triple-A's public affairs specialist in Iowa and Nebraska. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Thursday morning, Ortner says the program, in its 25th year, serves as a safety net for impaired drivers who might not have planned ahead.
"It's the idea to make sure people have a safe ride home over the upcoming holidays," said Ortner. "Ideally, we want people to designate a driver or use the ride share programs for those rides home. But, there's going to be times where you may celebrate and you hadn't planned on it and you need that ride home. That's where the 'Two to Go' program comes in."
After contacting Triple-A requesting assistance, the Auto Club Group dispatches a tow truck to transport the impaired person and their vehicle to a safe location within a 10-mile radius for free. Ortner adds the confidential ride for one person and their vehicle is available to Triple-A members and non-members.
"That's something to note because if you're out with a group of folks, this is for one person only and their vehicle--not for a group," Ortner explained. "Obviously with the holidays and the need for emergency services alongside the road, appointments can't be scheduled--it's designed as a safety net for those that didn't plan ahead. In some situations, just to make sure we're covering all the bases, other arrangements may need to be made to get an impaired individual a safe ride home and Triple-A will handle those as they arise."
However, "Tow to Go" might not be available in rural areas or during severe weather conditions. In its 25 years, Ortner says "Tow to Go" has removed more than 25,000 impaired drivers in participating states during various holidays.
"To bring it a little closer to home, and this may not sound like a large number unless you put it in perspective of getting an impaired driver off the road, during Thanksgiving 2022, we had one person in Nebraska and one in Iowa utilize the service, get off the road, and get home safely," he said. "That's not only a good thing for that individual but also others that may have encountered that vehicle on their way home."
But Ortner emphasized that the program is designed to be a "last resort" for drivers who cannot find a sober driver or utilize a ride-share service as Triple-A service technicians will likely be busy during the holiday season.
"Our service technicians, on the national level, are expected to rescue more than 937,000 drivers who may have car trouble over the upcoming holidays," said Ortner. "That's whether they're on a road trip, driving around town, or even going to work."
To utilize the service, call 855-286-9246. You can hear the full interview with Ortner below:
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