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Law enforcement hails Uber, Lyft as way to cut drunken driving

Local law enforcement officials hope the arrival of ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft will decrease the number of DWIs in the area.

Ride-hailing services will become legal in upstate New York at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and both companies are planning to extend service to Western New York.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Erie County Sheriff Timonthy Howard and other law enforcement representatives said they expect the services to bring more people from the suburbs to downtown Buffalo.

East Aurora Police Chief Shane Krieger said Uber and Lyft will allow people to come from the suburbs, have a few drinks and have a safe way to get back home, since taxis are not as prevalent in the suburbs.

Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard said the number of DWI arrests has dropped in recent years, but the number of DWI felony convictions has risen. A DWI is charged as a felony if the driver has previous convictions, Howard said.

Uber and Lyft start Thursday. Here's what to expect.

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