REGION— On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunken driving crash in their lifetime according to the National Highway Traffic Administration.
Amir Iravani is doing his part to take drunken drivers off the road through the Tipsy Tow program offered by his towing company, NK Towing.
Anyone in North County who has had too much to drink can call NK Towing at any hour and a tow truck will come tow the driver and their car for free to their home or hotel.
Iravani was honored at the Escondido State of the City event Feb. 25 for spending more than $100,000 in tow-truck services to keep drunk drivers off the road.
“Since 2006, NK Towing has been contributing to the safety of Escondido communities through its Tipsy Tow program,” Councilman John Masson said.
Iravani said the dollar amount he’s already spent isn’t important. He said it’s about making the roads safer for the city, which provided him the American dream.
Iravani came to the United States from Iran when he was 16.
“It’s the American dream to have a home, this is my dream and I got mine. Who gave it to me? This community, they come get a tow and pay for it and I was able to make my down payment on my mortgage every month,” he said.
He sees it as a responsibility to give back.
“We take from this community 365 days of the year so we can survive and thrive. It’s only fair that you give back when you have an opportunity,” he said.
AAA originally contacted him in 2006 to take part in their Tipsy Tow program, which takes place on New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July.
After doing it, he realized that the program didn’t exist the other 363 days of the year and he wanted to do something about it.
“The liquor stores are open 365 days a year, the bars are open 365 days a year, not just those (holidays),” said Iravani.
He has two young daughters and he considered them when deciding to continue offering the program year round.
The program is anonymous and the tow truck drivers don’t record any information to encourage people who may be embarrassed to use the program.
There are a few conditions. The tow truck drivers won’t take the impaired driver to another bar or restaurant.
Also, the distance has to be within reason and within the North County cities NK Towing serves which are San Marcos, Vista, Oceanside, Escondido, Camp Pendleton, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar and Fallbrook.
The Tipsy Tow program is free and anonymous and he said occasionally people take advantage of it.
Some people will call two or three times a week but Iravani said he will never turn someone down.
“If one time we say no to them, and he decides to drive and gets himself hurt, or hurts someone else on the road, that’s the time that if I hear it I’m going to have a hard time closing my eyes at night,” Iravani said.
The rewarding part for him is receiving thank you calls and e-mails after someone used the program.
He said often times people will call and admit they were in no condition to drive and likely would have hurt themselves had it not been for his program.
He estimates that his company gives about 2,000 free tows a year.