ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Travelers on New Year’s Eve can look forward again to free coffee and tea along the New York State Thruway.
This is the 42nd year the free beverages will be provided at the highway’s 27 travel plazas from 11 p.m. Monday until 7 a.m. Tuesday.
The Thruway Authority says it’s a way to remind drivers to stop for breaks to avoid getting drowsy on the road.
It also warns against stopping on the highway shoulder unless there’s an emergency.
As many as 20,000 people are expected to ring in the new year in White Plains on Monday. The celebration will feature fireworks and a ball drop.
Again this year, extra efforts are being rolled out to prevent intoxicated people from getting behind the wheel.
“I can tell you that in White Plains, if you do drink and drive, you are very likely to wind up spending the night someplace that will be a lot less comfortable than your home,” Mayor Tom Roach told WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell.
White Plains-based beer maker Heineken is offering free taxi service as part of its ‘New Year. Safe Ride’ program.
“You would come to the corner of East Post Road and Mamaroneck Avenue. There’ll be ambassadors there with Safe Ride signage. You get in the queue and they put you in a car service and send you home for free,” Heineken spokewoman Stacey Tank said. “The rides are free anywhere in Westchester County.”
The free rides are available between 11 p.m. Monday and 3 a.m. Tuesday to those of legal drinking age.
In Rockland, T.J. McGowan Sons Funeral Home in Haverstraw will offer free rides for the third straight New Year’s Eve, according to the Journal News.
The funeral home will pick up revelers in Haverstraw and Stony Point and drop them off anywhere in north Rockland through 4 a.m., the paper reported.
Their slogan is ‘let us drive you now instead of later.’ The number to call for a ride is 845-429-2130.
And AAA has partnered with AmRide to offer Hartford, Conn. area residents free rides home on New Year’s Eve through their ‘Arrive Safe’ program.
A professional driver will pick up an intoxicated person over the age of 21 and their car to get both home safely.
If you wish to take advantage, you may call 1-800-AAA-HELP to ask for a ride between the hours of 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and 3 a.m. on New Year’s Day.
“Approximately 90 people died in alcohol-related crashes on Connecticut roads in 2011 and the holiday season is a particularly dangerous time of year for impaired driving,” said AAA Public Affairs Manager Aaron Kupec. “Be responsible, and if you’ve had too much to drink, let Arrive Safe give you a free ride home. Better yet, plan ahead and recruit a designated driver.”
“Drinking and driving can quickly turn a holiday celebration into a tragedy and it is something that is totally preventable,” said AmRide’s Rene Rodriguez. “While we hope people don’t find themselves in a situation where they would be tempted to drive drunk, Arrive Safe is an emergency transportation option”
Rides are free of charge up to 10 miles. There is a $2.50 per mile charge for rides over 10 miles.
As always, officials recommend selecting a designated driver or otherwise planning a safe way to arrive home before heading out for the night.
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