The Erie County Legislature, led by the Democratic Majority Caucus, unanimously approved establishing a Designated Driver Program through the county STOP-DWI Office at its June 21 session.
The Erie County Designated Driver Project will be a unique transport system that integrates DWI preventative alcohol service practices in the daily management of retail alcohol establishments as it seeks to improve DWI enforcement through increased use of safe, reliable and low-cost transport of intoxicated patrons and vehicles to their residences.
The funding for the program, $19,000 in 2012, was all privately donated, with no county funds or DWI fine revenue involved, and is in the STOP-DWI Reserve Account. Among the donors, who have contributed $20,250.42, are the Erie County Police Chiefs Benevolent Association, Erie County Restaurant Association, Budweiser, Diageo, InBev, Molson, Coors and SAB Miller Brewing.
“In this new business model, Designated Drivers of Buffalo Inc. (DDoB) will provide a drive-home solution by supplying two drivers to deliver the patron and their vehicle to their residence at the same time,” Legislature Chairperson Betty Jean Grant (D-Buffalo) said. “The patrons will always ride in their own vehicles and DDoB supplies additional insured liability insurance. The per-ride cost would be comparable to a two-way taxi service. We hope to provide up to 500 rides from the launch to January 1, 2013.”
The program will include an Independence Day launch July 4, an advertising campaign, promotional materials, on-premise advertising, server training on how to identify intoxicated patrons and intervention procedures to prevent drunk driving, reduce cost to the patron and restricted entry. STOP-DWI, in conjunction with DDoB, would initially recruit up to 20 establishments to participate, and consideration will be given to geography, DWI Last Drink data and the practical locations of Erie County’s entertainment districts.