Sunday, December 30, 2007

1-800-AAA-HELP: Holiday Drinking

“Offer to give tipsy drivers free ride has no takers” When I saw this Advocate headline, I thought, oh man! AAA is offering free rides to intoxicated people and no one is using it? You drunk evil slackers! How could you not call a free service?
I read further and thought, this service seems COMPLICATED! Staff writer Wynne Parry writes: “The program, called Towing Operators Working to Eliminate Drunk Driving, is entering its 18th year... This year, free towing began Sunday and lasts through Tuesday.”

Towing? Who wants a TOW? A drunk person is not going to
a) have the wherewithal to call AAA
b) wait around for a tow truck.
Ever if you’re sober, nobody wants a tow. You want to be magically transported to your house. Driving drunk is closer to that than towing, and drunk people go for the easy choice.

Of course, you’re thinking, Well, the person’s friend should call! However, a host won’t want the embarrassment of a tow truck with its bright lights and the noise of the winch. Even a drunk person won’t stick around for that. I guess you can trap your friend, but those drunks sure can be pushy. And ya can’t lock them in the bathroom from the outside.

I commend AAA big time. I just wonder how we can make this service, or another service, more convenient, publicized, and less of a scene. Because drunk driving is an emergency. We SHOULD call a tow truck. But in society, people drunk drive all the time, and we’re too lenient with our friends. It’s hard; are they drunk, or just enthusiastic? Drunks can act convincingly sober.

Towing does eliminate the problem of people not wanting to have to return to pick up their car the next day. That’s a walk of shame and an inconvenience! But a drunk person might not see the value in that, and even a host or friend might not think to use that argument.

The solution is obviously to not get into the situation in the first place, but you can’t fight human nature. AAA, in the business of helping people, knows this, and we should recognize what a wonderful step they are taking to stop drunk driving. The number is 1-800-AAA-HELP, so pass the word on. If more people know about it, more people will use it.

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