Driving lesson

Milwaukee proposal to reduce reckless driving targets repeat offenders

Milwaukee’s latest attempt to protect people from reckless drivers includes a new proposal to seize vehicles from repeat offenders. This is similar to but different from the plan that already came into effect on May 1 to tow cars from unregistered vehicles used in reckless driving.

The Milwaukee Common Council’s public safety and health committee this week approved legislation aimed at targeting repeat offenders. The committee sends a proposal to the entire Common Council that would declare repeat offenders a “nuisance in itself”. The legislation defines the offences: “flight from an officer, reckless driving and speeding”. This would then allow the city to go to court to ask a judge to let the city seize their vehicles.

Milwaukee Police data shows that from February 24, 2021 to March 6, 2022, officers stopped:

  • 2 people 12 times
  • 1 person 10 times
  • 2 people 9 times
  • 6 people 8 times
  • 13 people 7 times
  • 30 people 6 times
  • 66 people 5 times
  • 238 people 4 times
  • 814 people 3 times
  • 3,794 people twice

The offenses included, among others, speeding and driving without a licence.

Traffic Safety Unit (TSU) of the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD)

“They literally have no respect for your life, absolutely none. And I think people are sick of it,” Alderman Michael Murphy told a hearing.

“It’s a lot of people taking these tickets, looking at them, and throwing them in the backseat of the car — ‘thank you very much’ — and they’re off,” Murphy said. “That is exactly what is happening, so these people need to be held accountable.”

“I live on a busy street. I see it day after day. And there are people who just shouldn’t drive,” Alderman José Pérez said.

Near Hadley and Grant, in the city’s Sherman Park area, locals said the driving was so bad they set up a makeshift roundabout. This roundabout has now disappeared, but the city is installing speed bumps around it.

Resident Marquis Edwards witnessed reckless driving near his nearby Grant home.

SIGN UP TODAY: Get daily headlines, topical emails from FOX6 News

“All of a sudden I hear tires squealing,” Edwards said. “I saw them get on the sidewalk and continue on the sidewalk in front of all these houses, in front of these people walking. I saw a few people having to jump to get out of the way.

“I was like, wow, in front of my own house, like that makes me nervous – it’s because I have a dog, I have brothers, you know? I have little cousins, nieces and nephews who come and I love playing in the front yard all the time.”

On the same street, resident Kyler Berg, a new dad, is worried about his 8-month-old daughter.

“We’re not excited about how reckless driving has kind of crippled our city,” Berg said. “It’s pretty bad, as we sit back and enjoy our nights, it’s quite a bit of screeching tires, loud and fast vehicles.”

FREE DOWNLOAD: Receive news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android.

The Milwaukee Department of Public Works installed a speed bump on their street in late 2021.

“As you can see with this car stopping, it helped a lot to slow down and deter traffic, as people were crossing,” Berg said as a car drove through. “So there’s been an improvement for sure, yeah, 100%. It’s improved quite a bit. It just makes me super excited for the next three potential speed bumps to come.”

“Once these were installed, slowly but surely, I saw people slowing down, saying, ‘Oh, there’s a speed bump here,'” Edwards added.

In total, the city installed 110 speed bumps in 2021 and is processing 180 requests for 2022.

“Having slow, safe roads for kids is going to be exciting,” Berg said.