BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Planning ahead will help many people make responsible and safe choices this St. Patrick's Day.
In downtown Buffalo this weekend, a yellow piece of paper can get you home safe.
We may be only two and a half months into 2013, but Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard says his deputies have already made 71 arrests for drunk driving. That's about one per day just from his office.
St. Patrick's Day is notoriously one of the biggest partying and drinking days of the year in Buffalo. To keep drunk drivers off the road, the sheriff's office is teaming up with Liberty Cabs and downtown Buffalo bar owners to get everyone home safely.
From Friday, March 15th at 9 p.m. until Monday the 18th at 6 a.m, bar patrons can get a free taxi ride home with a free voucher. All a bar patrons has to do is ask for a yellow slip from a bartender, and a cab driver will take them up to 25 miles at no cost.
This will keep the roadways safer for western New Yorkers, and offer drivers a safe option. Even a non-injury DWI is extremely costly. If convicted, you're looking at a minimum surcharge of $750, and a $500 civil penalty. New licenses cost between $50 and $100. DWI traffic schools cost close to $250. You'll also face a fine of $500 and a mandatory court charge of $400, as well as the possibility of one year in prison. That doesn't even factor in legal fees, which can run anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000. All told, a first-time conviction could cost between $10,000 and $20,000.
Participating bars are: Soho, Sky Bar, Laughlins, Darcy McGees, City Tavern, Bada Bing, Buckin Buffalo, Indulge Bar, Noir Bar, 67 West and Bottoms Up. Other establishments are expected to join the program.
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