Drunk driving arrests still too common, sheriff says

Apr 29, 2013

Just about every day, an Erie County deputy sheriff makes a drunken driving arrest. Sheriff Tim Howard says his deputies are on track for the fourth year in a row of making more than 300 such arrests.

The big bust over the weekend was on Friday on the Seneca Cattaraugus Territory with a 17-year-old being charged with drunken driving, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and a slew of other counts. That was the 109th arrest of the year.

About half the arrests follow an accident, part of a long pattern. Sheriff Howard says one difference this year is more arrests in Buffalo, along with the usual arrests out in the county in the usual patrol areas.

"We have people working in the Safe Streets Projects here," Howard says. "Buffalo police are so busy answering all of their complaints that sometimes they don't have time to do the proactive. So, we have an increased number of arrests this year in the city," Howard says.

While drinkers can get taxis to go home, that's less likely in the more rural areas of the county. Sheriff Howard says he favors some sort of a gift card so a person who drank too much can use it to pay for a cab.

With felony drunken driving the most charged crime in the county, he says anything would help.