Fact Check: AAA Is NOT Offering 'Tipsy Tow' Program During the 2020/2021 New Years

Fact Check

  • by: Victoria Eavis
Fact Check: AAA Is NOT Offering 'Tipsy Tow' Program During the 2020/2021 New Years Not This Year

Is the American Automobile Association (AAA) offering complimentary tow truck services to people who have been drinking on New Years? No, that's not true: The program has been suspended for the 2020/2021 New Years holiday due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Tipsy Tow will not be offered in any state this year," said Ellen Edmonds, a public relations manager for AAA's national office.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) where it was published on December 31, 2017 with the caption "This is important. You're not just putting your own life at risk but other peoples lives too." The Facebook post, which came in the form of a screenshotted tweet, read:

No excuses. Don't drink and drive- and don't ride with anybody who does.Tipsy Tow offered by AAA: You don't have to be a AAA member, from 6pm-6am on New Year's Eve/Day they will take your drunk self and your car home for FREE. Save this number 1-800-222-4357 . RT to save a life

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Dec 28 16:35:23 2020 UTC)

Although this Facebook post was originally posted in 2017, it was being widely shared again as New Years 2021 approached.

In a typical year and in certain places in the United States, AAA will tow people's cars who have been drinking so that the partiers do not drive under the influence. This service is also available to those who are not AAA members and during all major holidays, including Superbowl Sunday in some areas.

"For the protection of our members and our service providers, AAA is not allowing passengers to ride in our tow trucks to ensure compliance with social distancing recommendations provided by the CDC," Edmonds added in a follow up email.

Misinformation about Tipsy Tow has been circulating for a number of years: Snopes reported the facts on the program back in 2011.

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  Victoria Eavis

Victoria Eavis is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She recently graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. In her last few months at Duke, she was a reporter for a student news site, The 9th Street Journal, that covers the city of Durham, North Carolina. 

Read more about or contact Victoria Eavis

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