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Erie County donates DWI checkpoint trailer to state police

Chris Caya/WBFO News

State police in the Buffalo area have a new tool for conducting sobriety checkpoints on New Year's Eve. Erie County has donated a new trailer for DWI enforcement in the ongoing "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign. State Police Lt. Kevin Barnas says the ten-foot trailer will be used for transporting safety materials.

"We want to give adequate warning [that] there is a sobriety checkpoint in effect. We used to use flares, but now we have DMS boards, variable message boards, cones [and] signage. It takes a long way to actually give fair warning to the traffic that this is going on," Barnas said at a Tuesday morning news conference.

Erie County purchased the trailer with $4,100 in DWI fine revenues. Troopers will now be able to conduct checkpoints with no additional cost to the county's STOP-DWI program.

The director of that program, John Sullivan, says New York has a high standard for sobriety.

"A BAC as low as .06, which could be three drinks for a typical person, could result in a DWI or Driving While Impaired charge," Sullivan said.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says it doesn't take much to break the law and the consequences are not worth the risk.  

"It's exceptionally costly. You could lose your license. You're going to pay thousands of dollars to deal with this issue. Why risk it?," asked Poloncarz.

State Police and other local law enforcement are planning extra road patrols and checkpoints through the remainder of the holiday.

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