first_imgWhile the California Highway Patrol will crack down on tipsy motorists this New Year’s weekend, the Auto Club will drive the drunks to their bunks. Law enforcement and community agencies are offering numerous incentives for partygoers to pocket the car keys or hand them off to a designated sober driver. “This time of year has a high crash risk connected with drunk driving,” said Elaine Beno, a spokeswoman for the Automobile Club of Southern California. “We encourage people to think twice before getting behind the wheel.” The Auto Club will offer its “Tipsy Tow” service to anyone who asks, from 6 p.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Sunday. Any driver and his car, excluding passengers, will be driven home free of charge by calling (800) 400-4AAA. Call a cab, AAA Tipsy Tow, or a friend for a ride home. Arrange to sleep where you party at a friend’s or a hotel. Despite a decades-long campaign to clear drunks off the road, thousands are killed each year in alcohol-related collisions. Of the nearly 4,100 traffic deaths in California last year, according to the California Highway Patrol, 1,500 involved drinking. Nearly 32,000 motorists were injured because of alcohol. Last year, the CHP arrested nearly 87,000 drunk drivers. For this reason, the CHP will dispatch every available officer to crack down on drunks, speeders and motorists without seat belts. The strike force, known as Operation Star, will continue through Monday. For the first time, a restricted driver’s license will be issued in 2006 to DUI violators. “Enjoy New Year’s celebrations,” warned CHP Chief Gary Dominguez, in a statement. “But if you’re going to be drinking, arrange in advance to have a designated driver.” Dana Bartholomew, (818) 713-3730 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake A studio-based coalition of celebrities and community organizations will also offer bar and restaurant discounts for those who pledge to drive sober. Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes Against Drunk Driving will also offer alcohol-free drinks to designated drivers of three or more through its Web site, www.radd.org. “One size does not fit all,” said RADD President Erin Meluso. “This is California – we’re unique. We have long driving distances. The most important thing is to plan ahead.” Among RADD’s recommendations for New Year’s revelers: Appoint a designated driver. last_img