Erie County announces new Designated Driver Program
“With Independence Day here and summer in full swing, it is imperative that people act responsibly on our roadways,” said Poloncarz. “That responsibility especially applies to those who have had too much to drink and are in no condition to drive. The Erie County Designated Driver Project is a smart way to remove intoxicated drivers from the road, protecting other drivers and citizens in the process.”
The project will be run through the Erie County STOP-DWI office, which, in conjunction with DDoB, will seek to recruit establishments to participate in the program. Participating establishments will receive educational materials on how to identify intoxicated patrons and how to intervene to prevent them from driving.
“The Designated Driver Program is a terrific addition to our overall DWI prevention project,” said John Sullivan, director of the Erie County STOP-DWI Office. “It’s an easy and affordable alternative to drunken driving and we hope that people take advantage of it rather than risk arrest or causing a crash.”
Promotional materials and on-site advertising will be available at each participating establishment to raise awareness of the Designated Driver Project and to encourage patron participation. For each call it receives, DDoB will provide two drivers: one to drive the patron home in the patron’s car and a second to follow.
“Collaboration with Designated Drivers of Buffalo is a perfect complement to the efforts of Erie County law enforcement,” said John Glascott, commissioner of Central Police Services. “Local police agencies, the sheriff’s office and the New York State Police detect and arrest drunken drivers every day. Our hope is that Erie County residents plan ahead for their travel plans [and] avoid the trouble that comes with DWI.”
“We are very excited to partner with Erie County in this unique program,” said Michael Mule, general manager of Designated Drivers of Buffalo. “We are so excited to be able to work with the county law enforcement, as well as local establishments, to form this partnership that will ultimately help save so many lives.
“In today’s climate, we understand that people still want to go out and have a good time,” he continued. “There is nothing wrong with that. We just ask that you take the appropriate measures to get home safely without causing harm to you or someone else. This partnership will really help to enforce that.”
Funding for the program, $19,000 so far in 2012, was all privately donated, with no county funds’ or DWI fines’ revenue involved. Among the donors are the Erie County Police Chiefs Benevolent Association, Erie County Restaurant Association, DIAGEO and local distributors of several beer brands. All funding received is in the STOP-DWI Reserve Account.
For more information on Erie County STOP-DWI, visit www.erie.gov/stopdwi or call 858-6291. For more information on Designated Drivers of Buffalo, visit www.ddobny.com or call 713-7703.