WEST SENECA, N.Y. -- It's become a Labor Day tradition for law enforcement: increasing patrols to keep an eye out for drunk drivers.
"For the police departments, while other people go to play, we go to work," said West Seneca Police Chief Daniel Denz.
Officials say DWI arrests are decreasing in Erie County, but those who do get behind the wheel and hit the road while under the influence tend to be familiar faces.
"We're finding people who are habitual offenders have drinking problems," said Denz. "They're usually very high alcohol contents when we get them. They're usually floating around the .2 range."
That's why Acting Erie County DA Michael Flaherty says the county is joining the "Drink and Drive, Lose your Ride" Campaign. Under the pilot program, anyone arrested for their second felony DWI arrest could have their car confiscated.
"We're starting with the second felony offense as our pilot project to see how all the pieces work together and to make sure that no cases slip through the cracks," said Flaherty.
Once a patrol officer identifies a repeat offender, the car will be taken by the police department. The DA's office would commence a civil action and determine if the car is primarily used by the offender. The vehicle could then be auctioned off by the county.
Officials say other counties across the state have tried the program with mixed results.
"In Suffolk County, they did it for many years, and they had some success with it. We'll have to see what the population looks like here in Erie County," said Erie County STOP-DWI Director John Sullivan.
The Erie County Sheriff's Office along with West Seneca, Cheektowaga, and Orchard Park Police Departments will be the first to implement the program. It could expand to other parts of the county by the end of the year.