Erie County Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo has released the following statement concerning recent discussions about changing the closing time for bars in Erie County:
“The discussion concerning moving Erie County’s bar closing time from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. has apparently been based on ‘data’ that doesn’t exist. After learning of the Clerk’s proposal in the media, I did my own research into alcohol-related accident and fatality statistics. Simply stated, it appears the facts do not support an earlier closing time having any impact on reducing alcohol-related accidents or fatalities. In fact, it may have the opposite effect. According to STOP DWI, Erie County ranks 48th out of 62 New York Counties in DWI-related fatalities. Furthermore, Erie County ranks in the bottom third of all NY counties for alcohol-related traffic accidents while simultaneously being home to New York State’s second largest city,” said Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo.
“Mandating an earlier closing time for bars will not solve the serious problem of drinking and driving. In fact, it could place more intoxicated people on our roadways at times of higher traffic, and therefore increase the number of alcohol-related traffic accidents. There are additional options that this region has not yet taken full advantage of, including car sharing services such as Uber that provide cheaper transportation and have been known to reduce DWIs in New York City and several states. I would be willing to have a discussion about the county’s efforts to curb drunk driving, but arbitrarily regulating businesses doesn’t make sense. Many establishments already close earlier than 4 a.m., and forcing increased regulation without any real data to support it is inappropriate.”