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Buffalo ranks soberly safe on list of 'drunkest cities' Men's Journal finds Queen City 3rd best in nationwide survey

Buffalonians apparently know when to say when.

A survey in the December issue of Men's Health rated Buffalo as the third "least dangerously drunk city" in America.

The City of Good (and not stinkin' drunk) Neighbors was topped only by Miami, which took second place, and Durham, N.C., which came in first.

The most dangerously drunk cities?

The worst offender was Denver, followed by Anchorage, Alaska, and then Colorado Springs, Colo.

The men's magazine arrived at its rankings for the country's "drunkest cities" by factoring in an array of statistics related to unhealthy and dangerous drinking habits.

The data included death rates due to alcoholic liver disease, people who regularly drink five or more servings of alcohol a day, driving while intoxicated arrests and the percentage of alcohol-related fatal car crashes. The magazine also took into account the report card of Mothers Against Drunk Driving on individual states.

John F. Sullivan, the project coordinator of Erie County's Stop DWI program, said he's not surprised by Buffalo's favorable ranking.

"New York State has a pretty good history" when it comes to cracking down on drunk driving, he said.

Yonkers and New York City also made the 10 "least dangerous drunk" cities list.

The state was the first to establish a self-funding, anti-drunken-driving system, Sullivan said.

"The fines [paid by DWI offenders] go right back into the business of stopping more DWIs," he said. "That's what established my office."

He pointed out that every county in New York State has a Stop DWI coordinator, like himself.

Local efforts to curb drunken driving have resulted in a dramatic decrease of alcohol-related traffic fatalities, Sullivan said.

In 1982, when he began his job, there were 72 deaths in Erie County blamed on drunken drivers. In 2005 -- the last year with confirmed statistics -- there were 19.

Michael J. DeGeorge, spokesman for the Buffalo Police Department, said he believes Buffalo's ranking in the survey reflects a greater intolerance of drinking and driving.

"Over the last number of years, there's been more and more attention and emphasis put on drunk driving and I think some of those benefits are paying some dividends," DeGeorge said. "People are heeding the advice and taking it seriously."


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