Don't drive drunk after New Year's parties: There are plenty of safe alternatives

12/31/2011 12:00 AM

01/03/2012 11:21 AM

Revelers who plan to toast the arrival of the new year with alcoholic beverages can avoid the hazards that accompany drinking and driving by arranging for a safe ride home, offered free or for a fee.

Sacramento

In the city of Sacramento, Berg Injury Lawyers has teamed with the Yellow Cab Co. to cover the first $35 of cab fare for a ride home from a downtown restaurant, hotel or bar between 10 p.m. Saturday and 4 a.m. Sunday.

Rides must be within the city of Sacramento and patrons must pay any cab fare that exceeds $35. Those summoning a Yellow Cab should specify that the call is for a "free ride home."

Folsom

In Folsom, police Sgt. Jason Browning said, volunteers with the Police Department's Citizens Assisting Public Safety program will provide free rides home within the city from 10 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday. The service is available to Folsom residents only.

Towing

After 23 years of offering free tow service for New Year's Eve partygoers, Sacramento-based Cozz's Auto Body and Service will transfer calls this year to AAA's roadside assistance line.

Cozz's has expanded its AAA territory and now serves 156 square miles, said owner Mike Cozzitorto.

"This year we were afraid we didn't have enough resources to be able to do it (free tow service), or at least not to do it successfully," he said.

Cozz's responded to 125 calls last New Year's Eve and 150 the year before, Cozzitorto said.

He advised AAA members seeking a tow and a safe ride home on New Year's Eve to call (800) AAA-HELP (222-4357).

Drivers for hire

Designated drivers also are available for hire. Mike Dumke, founder of Roseville's Driver Please, offers personal drivers who will chauffeur clients to parties or restaurants in the client's car, or "double drivers" who serve people who are already out with their own vehicle. One driver drives the client's car home and the other driver follows to pick up the first driver.

"We provide a chauffeur in your own car, so it's a lot less costly than a cab," Dumke said. "We drop you off at the front door of the restaurant, then wait and pick you up when you're ready."

The charge for a personal driver is $24.95 per hour. For the double driver option, there is a $25 pickup charge, plus $2.95 per mile up to 20 miles and $1.95 per mile after that.

Driver Please serves communities in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo counties.

Last Call Sacramento also will provide driver teams to drive patrons and their cars home between 10 p.m. Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday.

For patrons of Last Call's eight sponsor bars – five in downtown Sacramento, one in Fair Oaks and two in Folsom – the service is free for up to 10 miles, with a charge of $3 per each additional mile.

For people requesting service from non-sponsor bars, Last Call charges a $5 pickup fee plus $3 per mile.

Vince Koll, president of Last Call, said his teams received 185 calls for service last New Year's Eve and were able to handle about 30.

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