Erie County Officials Give Update on DWI Statistics

Expect checkpoints and extra patrols this week

November 19, 2018 - 1:36 pm

BUFFALO (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and other local law enforcement officials held a press conference today to update the public on DWI statistics.

"As we look at the most up-to-date statistics, we see nearly a 10 percent reduction in DWI arrests from this year compared to last year," said James Jancewicz who serves as commissioner of central police services.

As local officials want to continue seeing a steady drop in DWI arrests, they have a plan to combat drunk driving as we head into this holiday season.

"We're also here to announce that there will be continued enforcement efforts to include checkpoints throughout the county over the next several days that will be unannounced and conducted by various police agencies" said Jancewicz. "In addition, there will be roving patrols that are dedicated to identifying and arresting individuals that are driving while drunk."

The improvement in DWI deaths have been seen across New York since the early 1980's.

"Since 1982, DWI fatalities have gone down 70 percent in the state," said the Coordinator of the Stop DWI Program, John Sullivan. "As recently as 1995, Erie County has 45 DWI fatalities due to drinking and driving - that's almost one per week. Last year, because they're still prosecuting the cases, we expect that to be less than 10."

The decrease, both this year and for the last 40 years, was attributed to more community involvement such as education and advocacy. Although the specific numbers aren't completely known, the recent decrease can likely be attributed to an increase in ride sharing services.

While there has been a sizable drop in DWI rates, Poloncarz says these numbers still aren't good enough.

"I'm very glad to see the numbers continue to decline, but they're not zero," he said. "There are still over 2,000 individuals during this time period in 2018 that have been arrested for DWI since the beginning of the year," he said. "There are individuals who are making bad decisions."

Hear the full press conference below:

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