Thinking ahead can save people a lot of trouble when it comes to New Year’s Eve celebrations. The biggest warning from experts is to find a designated driver.

The City of Phoenix has partnered with Coors Light to provide free rides on bus, light rail and Dial-a-Ride beginning at 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

Light rail will provide extended service until 2 a.m. to accommodate New Year’s celebrations. Bus service in Tempe will also be extended to serve the New Year’s Eve Block Party on Mill Avenue. To plan the evening visit valleymetro.org, call (602) 253-5000 or 1-800-FREE RIDES (1-800-373-3743), or text FREE RIDES to 90464.

AAA of Arizona is also offering a free ride for New Year’s Eve. AAA’s Tipsy Tow service will begin at 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve and continue through 6 a.m. New Year’s Day.

Tipsy Tow is a free one-way ride tow up to 10 miles for people who have been drinking. The service is open to anyone, not just members. Motorists will be charged if the ride goes past 10 miles. Drivers will not tow motorists to a second bar or party — only home or to a hotel where they are staying.

Anyone can call for a Tipsy Tow but they need the driver’s name, address, phone number, current location and home address. Call 1-800-AAA-HELP (1-800-222-4357) on a service day and state you need a “tipsy tow.”

The Phoenix Police Department is one of several enforcement agencies in the Valley planning on targeting impaired drivers on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Sgt. Joel Tranter of the Phoenix Police Department said it’s something they do every year because it’s a problem they see every year.

“I’ve been part of the traffic bureau and participated in numerous DUI task forces and I’ve seen it on numerous occasions when someone has a spotless record but they go out to a party and start having drinks and having fun, and that’s okay, but then they get behind the wheel to head home and get arrested for DUI or worse, they get in a collision,” he said. “Their lives are turned upside down. Just make sure you make arrangements beforehand.”

Tranter said a taxi ride from Phoenix to Flagstaff and back is more affordable than getting a DUI in Arizona. If a person gets in an accident and hurts someone while driving impaired, he or she can also be charged for aggravated assault. If someone is killed in an accident with a drunk driver, the driver could be charged with manslaughter.

Get a cab, a designated driver, or just go to an organized party at a hotel and get a room there for the night, Tranter suggests.

“You need to make those plans in advance because in most cases when you get there and people start having drinks, common sense goes out the window and they get arrested for DUI or worse,” he said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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