Does AAA really provide free rides for everyone on New Year's Eve?

Free Rides For Partiers Not An Option nationwide

Did you hear about the free rides offered by AAA on New Year's Eve? A popular post on social media says the organization is offering free, nationwide services to keep keys away from drunk revelers and get New Year's Eve partiers home safely.

"Please re-post this is you don't mind to save lives. Nationwide!," the meme reads. It also provides a 1-800 number for drinkers to call.

Trouble is, much of the information is incorrect. It's true there is no excuse for driving while impaired, but the program is not nationwide and the phone number listed is the general information hotline for AAA, not a connection to a ride. In areas that do offer rides, they may not be free.

"(The meme) went around a bit last year," said Heather Hunter, director of public relations for AAA. "We monitor social media and are trying to correct information."

Every year, some AAA clubs around the country offer a Holiday Safe Ride program. In places that do offer the service, your car is towed back to your home or a cab is called. It's mostly offered in southern and southwestern states as well as some smaller urban areas out west.

For drivers who don't live in an area participating in Holiday Safe Ride, AAA lists other resources on the website Free rides are rarer on this list. Most end up costing drivers between $20-$45 for a ride, or limit whom they're willing to pick up.

So if this is such a popular idea why doesn't AAA offer such a service nationwide? "Because AAA is a federation of independent automotive clubs," Hunter said. "Each club offers programs depending on state or local laws and how they can best serve their members needs."

Bottom line: if you want a happy holiday, know exactly how you're getting home before you go out. And don't believe everything you read on the internet.

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