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Police to be on lookout Super Bowl Sunday for tipsy drivers

AAA offering free tows for impaired motorists to get them off roadways

Several agencies across the Bay Area are taking extra steps to try to reduce drunken driving after the Super Bowl today.

DUI saturation patrols and free ride programs will be offered across the region.

Law enforcement agencies in Solano, Sonoma and San Mateo counties will deploy DUI saturation patrols targeting impaired drivers.

The California Office of Traffic Safety is funding the extra patrols, which will search out drivers with a blood alcohol concentration level above the state's legal limit of 0.08.

In 2008, alcohol-impaired driving was responsible for 32 percent of all fatal crashes. On Super Bowl Sunday that year, drunken driving was a factor in 49 percent of the fatal crashes.

In 2009, 11 people were killed and 133 were injured in alcohol-involved collisions on Super Bowl Sunday. That was three times the average number of daily fatalities.

AAA Northern California will also offer its free Tipsy Tow program between 6 p.m. today and 6 a.m. Monday. Impaired drivers, even non- AAA members, can get a one-way ride and have their vehicles towed up to 5 miles by calling (800) AAA-HELP and saying, "I need a Tipsy Tow."

Additional passengers who fit safely in the tow truck can also have a ride to the driver's home.

AAA estimates that even when no one is injured or killed, a California DUI conviction costs the driver about $12,000 in fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees and insurance expenses.

Janna Brancolini, Bay City News

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