The usual way for a driver to avoid eggnog-fuelled destruction during the holidays is for them to travel with a designated driver. This is a tried-and-true method of avoiding being the only perp at the station who smells alluringly of nutmeg. If, for whatever reason, it’s not a viable option for you (maybe all your friends like the ‘nog as much as you do?) Toronto-area entrepreneur John Long has a solution. It involves tow trucks.
Long’s proposition is fairly straightforward. Simply call his business, Downtown Towing, and he will send one of his many tow trucks (or the trucks of a subcontractor) to wherever you are. The tow truck driver will then take you and your car safely home. Your fellow party guests will be forced to acknowledge that you have partied so incredibly hard that reinforcements with heavy machinery needed to be called. You will be, in a word, victorious.
The service will launch to coincide with the first police-run impaired driving checkpoints of the holiday season.
Long began offering the service fifteen years ago, but discontinued it to concentrate on other work. His sense of duty was a factor in his decision to bring it back.
“I was going to many accidents,” he said during a phone interview, “and I went to many calls where people were drunk, or people were being charged…and I’m going: Jesus, Jesus, if they only had some kind of recourse, some kind of way to get home.”
Motorists who drink this December will have plenty to worry about, since this holiday season will be the first during which Ontario’s toughened drunk-driving penalties will be in force. Under the new legislation, effective last May, being pulled over with a blood alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.08 results in a three-day license suspension on a first offense; a seven-day suspension and mandatory driver education on a second offense; and a thirty-day suspension and mandatory treatment program on a third offense.
A tow from Long or any of his subcontractors will cost seventy-five dollars, plus three dollars for every kilometre travelled, meaning that, altruism aside, it’s likely to be quite a lucrative holiday sideline—though Long pointed out that parking and cabs are also extremely costly.
Similar services in the GTA—like the charmingly named Safe-T-Ride, or the Durham-based Keys To Us—rent actual, human designated drivers, who chauffeur impaired partygoers home in their own vehicles, for less than the cost of a tow. (Safe-T-Ride quotes thirty-five dollars for the first fifteen kilometres and five dollars for every 4 kilometres thereafter. They say the holiday season is extremely busy.)
Or, you know, you could just take the TTC.
Order a tow from Downtown Towing (and subcontractors) this holiday season by calling 416-GET-HOME (438-4663).
Photos by Christopher Drost/Torontoist