By Derek Valcourt

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — New Year’s Day falls on a Saturday this year, which means more people will likely be out partying New Year’s Eve than in recent years.  That could mean more drunk drivers.

Derek Valcourt has a look at some options to get you home safely.

When the New Year’s fireworks are over and when the bars close down, it’s time to head home.  That’s when many drunk drivers hit the roads…in some cases, causing deadly accidents like the one that killed five members of a Parkville family on New Year’s Eve in 2008.  The driver that struck them had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. 

In fact, on average, AAA says every New Year’s Eve, 80 people are killed in drunk driving accidents.  That’s why they sponsor the Tipsy Taxi program: yellow cabs will give free rides to people who had too much to drink in Baltimore’s bars and restaurants.

“You must be in Baltimore City drinking at a bar or restaurant.  However, we will transport you home anywhere in the Baltimore metropolitan area up to a maximum of $50.  Anything above that amount becomes the responsibility of the passenger,” said Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.

You can also ride any of the MTA buses, light rail and subway for free New Year’s Eve.  They’ll have extended hours until 2 a.m.

“Miller Lite free rides is just one of those options available to make sure people plan ahead and get home safely,” said Julien Green, MillerCoors.

Maryland State Police say DUI arrests have been on the rise in recent years.  After folks rang in 2008, troopers locked up 158 drunk drivers.  Last year’s holiday was one of the worst so far: 201 DUI arrests.  This New Year’s, Maryland State Police promise they’ll be out in force.

“People know that drinking and driving do not mix and so if they know they’re going to be drinking on New Year’s Eve, know that the state troopers will be out there looking for them,” said Elena Russo, Maryland State Police.

Last year, the Tipsy Taxi program provided nearly 100 free rides to people on New Year’s Eve.  If you need the cab ride, call 1-877-963-TAXI.

Comments (5)
  1. jill m says:

    i was on hold for 30 minutes with tipsy taxi last year and never got through. i was downtown and scantilty clad girls were throwing themselves in front of taxis trying to hail them down and no one could get one. it was a mess last year. hopefully this year is better for those needing a ride.

  2. Mark says:

    Get drunk if you want too but DON’T ruin New Year’s Eve for everyone else. Stay safe and DON’T drink and drive. Arrive alive for 2011.

  3. Doug says:

    What we need are less cops and better,more responsible parents.
    As if that trend will occur.
    Welcome to your police state. Enjoy

  4. Kathy says:

    The Tipsy Taxi needs to be available state wide and you need to be able to get through.

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