Op Ed

Action Needed on Reckless Driving

Time is of the essence. Task force submitted report in June. City officials must act.

By - Sep 12th, 2020 08:07 am
Crash on N Jackson St. Photo by Dave Reid.

Crash on N Jackson St. Photo by Dave Reid.

In January, 2019 the Milwaukee Common Council established a City-County Task Force to address the escalation of carjackings and reckless driving. The trend of excessive speeding, failure to yield, and disregard for the rules of the road has placed motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and all users of the road in jeopardy.

The Task Force was composed of 15 members including elected officials, law enforcement, judges, City officials and community members. They met for over a year focusing on the areas of prevention/education, engineering and enforcement/accountability. All meetings were open to the public and there were two evening sessions where the community engaged with Task Force members and provided suggestions. Citizens came out in full force at Rufus King and South Division last fall expressing their concerns. It was an attestation that there is much work to be done which will require all of us.

Since the Task Force was established in 2019, here are some frightening statistics to consider:

  • The City had 47 fatalities in 2019; 31 of them were speed related
  • The City had 304 serious injuries due to crashes in 2019; 89 were speed related
  • There have been several incidents of road rage.
  • In 2019, there were numerous hit and runs including two children killed in a crosswalk and a third seriously injured, a woman walking her dog was killed and another senior, seriously injured, who was hit and then dragged out of the street so that the driver could flee.
  • The total crashes in the City between February and July 2020 is 8198; in 2019 it was 9971.***
  • The number of crash related fatalities from February to July in 2020 is 28; in 2019 during the same months the total was 20.

And, we could go on.  This is only a snapshot of the most egregious incidents. There are many more instances that go unreported or don’t make the news. These also don’t include the dangerous circumstances created by high speed chases that put all on the street in harm’s way.

The Task Force report was adopted in June, 2020 by the Milwaukee Common Council. A copy of the report can be found here.

Earlier this year the Coalition for Safe Driving MKE provided the Task Force with three recommendations. They included a campaign of awareness, increase driver’s education opportunities for teens and adults who have fallen through the cracks and the implementation of Vision Zero, a comprehensive approach to reduce traffic fatalities.

The Coalition is engaged in a campaign to raise awareness and to involve the community to work with us as partners on promoting safe streets. You can join our campaign by contacting us at www.coalitionsafedrivingmke.com or sending an email to coalitionsafedrivingmke@gmail.com

We urge Mayor Tom Barrett and City leaders to address these issues like our lives depend on it. And, we urge the residents of Milwaukee to stand with us and hold our leaders accountable. Time is of the essence!

*The Coalition for Safe Driving MKE is a group of concerned citizens and grassroots organizations that have come together address reckless driving in Milwaukee. The mission of The Coalition is to sustain a campaign of awareness about safe driving, educating the community, collaborating with partners and stakeholders, and advancing a broad-impact strategic plan to reduce reckless driving.

**Data from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation/Bureau of Transportation Safety  

***The decline due to the Safer at home order

5 thoughts on “Op Ed: Action Needed on Reckless Driving”

  1. CONeill says:

    Thank you, Ms Jackson. Our neighborhood group in the Sherman Park area has been working on this for years. We’ve been greatly affected by this. My children in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, D.C., and Portland are stunned by the reckless drivers in Milwaukee. A son-in-law in Chicago wondered if I had PTSD from driving in my neighborhood.

    Catherine O’Neill

  2. Douglas Johnson says:

    It is not only the City of Milwaukee that needs to act it is also the County of Milwaukee. Reckless freeway driveway, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating and excessive speeding have continued and still has not decreased. I recollect that there was suppose to be a joint effort by both the City and the County for addressing this but not much seems to come of it. Driving is no longer, at least for some, a safe, cooperative and courteous effort with concern not only for oneself and for other drivers but a self-centered free-for-all for some drivers.

  3. glen copper says:

    I am all for drivers’ ed being restored in public high schools. It seems that this is one life skill to be taught that people would use throughout their lives.

    I would also like to see more investment in things like roundabouts, “this is your speed” electronic signs, and speed bumps that naturally slow traffic down without police involvement.

    Car theft is related to drug sales now; speeding is often blamed on being chased by police, often involving prior arrests; and hit and runs have the same problem. Somehow, we have to get a handle on stopping the drugs in our communities.

    As to awareness campaigns, a number of years ago Australia had tv spots produced that focused on three areas:

    1. Speed.
    2. Alcohol and drug use.
    3. Attention (this was before the era of texting).

    Humor, used responsibly, seemed to work better than frightening people.

    -Karen Copper

  4. KFG says:

    Please hurry — it is getting worse out there. People are driving as if the rules don’t apply to them. That was always the case, but now I see more of it every day. Driving in emergency lanes. Driving 90 mph in a 55 mph zone. Running red lights. Running stop signs. Never using signals (when they drive 90 mph). This has to stop.

  5. Donald Cramer says:

    Please correct the link to be:


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