BANGOR, Maine — Had too much to drink and don’t want to drive on New Year’s Eve?
If you live in or are staying in a hotel in the Bangor-Brewer area, you can call Union Street Towing for a free tow to your home or hotel.
Owner Butch Foss said Thursday that his company, now located at 37 Perkins St., has been offering free holiday towing services since the late 1980s.
He said he initially started offering free towing as part of a nationwide program called Towing Operators Working to Eliminate Drunk Driving, or T.O.W.E.D. for short.
The campaign was established and organized by the Towing and Recovery Association of America Inc., the national association for the towing industry. After the association ended the campaign, Foss continued to provide the free program on his own.
The only requirements are that people be taken home or to a local motel rather than to other parties or establishments, and that their cars be operable. In past years, Foss offered the service from Christmas through New Year’s and towed more than 30 vehicles in a given year.
Today, thanks to Maine’s tough drunken driving laws, education efforts and the growing use of designated drivers, fewer area residents require the service. To that end, Foss scaled the service back to New Year’s Eve and early New Year’s Day. Foss said that in recent years, his crew typically tows from two to four vehicles.
Foss said he would rather provide free tows to motorists who need them than see their vehicles in the impound lot he runs for the Bangor Police Department.
“It’s a goodwill thing,” Foss said, adding, “People really appreciate it and they remember it, even years later.”
But it’s also a public service: “If we can stop one wreck, it’s worth it.”
To arrange for a free tow on New Year’s Eve, call the company’s 24-hour hot line at 942-8663.