(WBIR-Knoxville) Saint Patrick's Day festivities started early this weekend. Several companies and agencies are making sure people do not drive drunk.

According to Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), DUI violations are up by 38.2% so far this year in the state, compared to 2013 at this time.

AAA brought back its "Tow to Go" program, a partnership with Bud Light during busy holidays.

"We did a survey of folks in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee and what we found is that St. Patrick's Day is viewed as the holiday that's really focused on drinking. 56% of people said this holiday focuses on drinking more than any other," said Don Lindsey, AAA Tennessee public affairs director.

A tow truck will take a vehicle and two people home, within a 10 mile area. The program is free, for both AAA members and non-members.

Lindsey said "Tow to Go" should be used as a last resort.

"It is not Plan A, it is Plan Z and then some. It is the very last resort. You can't make an appointment for it," Lindsey said.

Since the service began in 1998, "Tow to Go" has removed more than 23,000 intoxicated drivers from the roads. It is provided in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

"It gives us the opportunity to encourage people to plan ahead. If you want to go out for a night of partying, that's fine. Plan how you're going to get home safely," Lindsey said.

It is also one of the busiest holidays for taxi drivers. Stoney Ogle with Discount Taxi usually provides services to and from McGhee Tyson Airport. However, he plans to take advantage of the extra business from St. Patrick's Day.

"The last plane is usually here by 11:30 p.m. and it's just starting to get good downtown right about then," he said.

THP will continue sobriety checkpoints until late Monday night.

Last year, 13 Tennesseans died in car crashes during the 72-hour St. Paddy's Day holiday period. Four of those crashes involved alcohol.

"Tow to Go" started on Friday and will end Mar. 18 at 6 a.m.

Read or Share this story: http://on.wbir.com/1iTy7pJ