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Police chiefs tell Cuomo: make ride-hailing available

courtesy cpdny.org

The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, which is currently led by a Buffalo-area law enforcer, is joining the chorus of those who want New York State to allow ride-hailing beyond New York City.

David Zack, Chief of Police in the Town of Cheektowaga, is also president of the Association. As a representative of the latter, Zack wrote a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging him to support the expansion of ride-hailing statewide.

"What the chiefs are hoping is that if ride-sharing is made available in Upstate New York, that we may see a reduction in incidents of drunken driving but also in car crashes that are related to alcohol," Zack said.

According to the Association, the upstate region accounts for 51 percent of the state's licensed drivers but is also where 65 percent of the state's DWI and drug-impaired arrests occur. In addition, upstate is where 59 percent of all fatal and personal injury crashes take place in New York State. 

By contrast, the Association reports, New York City is home to 31 percent of the state's licensed drivers, who account for 24 percent of all DWI and drug-impaired driving arrests and 24 percent of all fatal and personal injury crashes. The availability of more public transport, including ride-hailing companies, is making a difference, Zack suggests.

Insurance issues are said to be the big sticking point in Albany when it comes to approving ride-hailing elsewhere in New York State. Zack is among those who urge lawmakers to resolve that in their coming session.

"They were able to get it through in New York City," he said. "Why it's being held hostage upstate is anyone's guess. I have heard the insurance issue raised. We're hoping they can get through that little bit of dysfunction and get this thing passed."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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