Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
OP Ed

10 Steps to Stop Reckless Driving

Mayor, council need to crack down. Here’s how.

By , Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service - Nov 25th, 2019 01:31 pm
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Cleanup after a single-vehicle crash on E. Mason St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Cleanup after a single-vehicle crash on E. Mason St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Dear Milwaukee Common Council, Mayor’s Office and the press:

I am fed up, and like many of you, think we need to lower the hammer on those who use their cars as weapons in our community and neighborhoods. With all of the mayhem on our city streets, it has come down to life and death for citizens in Southeast Wisconsin when it comes to driving.

I worked hard for almost a decade on the issue of driver’s licenses and their impact on job acquisition in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin. However, this new crisis has taken on a criminal atmosphere of “I don’t care and who’s going to stop me?” We, together, are going stop them!

I submitted these suggestions to the mayor and Common Council over the past three years and resubmit them because of the recent deaths associated with reckless driving. I am pissed that these driving issues have reached a major milestone in regards to public safety and loss of life.

Over the last few months I have seen people run stoplights, stop signs and pass in both turn lanes at high speeds. People driving regularly are threatened by some of those driving recklessly who ignore the police. It’s gotten to the point where my wife had to stop me from getting out of the car recently to confront those stop sign and red light runners.

It is time to send a message to all — young, middle aged, old folk, women, men, regardless of race, creed or age — that this behavior is unacceptable and has to stop. If not, they need to feel the consequences of the system that should protect all of us from these maniacs, before more people are killed or injured.

These are 10 steps I recommend on how to handle the current driving issues in Milwaukee:

1. When people are caught intentionally running a red light and/or a stop sign, they should be given a ticket and have their car towed away and held for a minimum of 30 days.

2. Enforce all the small issues — people driving cars with no rear view mirrors, no license plates, excessive damage, etc.

3. A new fee of $100 per day should be added for tow storage, with a 30-day period to get the car. After, it would be sold, trashed or scraped.

4. Those who are drag racing should also be given a ticket and have their car towed. On a second or third offense offence, the vehicle would be seized by the city and sold or scraped.

5. Driver’s license suspensions should also be on the table — driving with no license means they should go to jail for a minimum of 30 days.

6. If you really want to push the envelope, no car should be sold to anyone without a driver’s license. Additionally, if you purchase a car for someone and they do not have a driver’s license, the purchaser assumes the liability and will be charged appropriately.

7. Require all car dealerships to place all keys in a locked and bolted safe, so that intrusions will not allow for car thefts because keys are inaccessible.

8. Place cameras at stop lights.

9. Fund more comprehensive drivers education programs in Milwaukee Public Schools and community nonprofit agencies like Employ Milwaukee.

10. The word will soon get out about the crackdown and then other cities will take notice and do the same.

Tyrone Dumas is a longtime educational consultant and advocate.

This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee.

2 thoughts on “OP Ed: 10 Steps to Stop Reckless Driving”

  1. 45 years in the City says:

    I used to watch “Parking Wars” on TV. Most episodes were produced in Philadelphia. The show was largely about parking violations, but occasionally the parking authority would get a tow request from the police.

    Under Pennsylvania law (at least at the time of the show’s production), if the police stop a driver for any violation and there’s no valid DL, or no valid registration, or no valid insurance, the car will be towed the impound lot and will not be released until all outstanding tickets are paid, the registration, etc. are current. I think they called it a “live stop”.

    If someone wants to get their car out of a PA impound without satisfying the above requirements, they have to remove the license plates and call a private tow service to take the car.

    This seems drastic, but there are so many unlicensed and/or uninsured drivers and cars with missing/expired/fake plates in MKE that something needs to be done.

    I’m aware that a lot of people can’t afford to properly insure and register cars. With limited public transport options, solving this problem is difficult.

  2. mkwagner says:

    These 10 steps are little more than knee jerk reactions. The problem with knee-jerk is they rarely address the root cause of the problem. Why is it that we are now seeing increasing reckless driving? What has changed that is leading to problem worsening? Without understanding the cause of the problem, solutions such as these 10 steps are nothing more than band-aids or worse, they will acerbate the situation.

    Quite frankly, I see the reckless driving as simply the tip of the iceberg. This country is descending into general lawlessness. So many crimes are not prosecuted because they are seen as too difficult and costly to prosecute. So bankers and financiers even elected officials steal, cheat and defraud without fear of prosecution. On the flip side, people without resources to mount a legal defense are talked into pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit. All this has consequences. It communicates that laws don’t apply if you have the wherewithal to get around them. It comes down to everyone is only out for themselves. Law enforcement is a foe with which to do battle. This “rugged individualism” was a disaster in the past and it will be a disaster going forward.

    Bottom-line, until we address the root cause, any attempt to get tough on reckless driving will only make the matter worse.

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