Reckless driving is a growing safety concern for Milwaukee community leaders and public safety officials. The City of Milwaukee has seen an overall increase in motor vehicle fatalities especially motor vehicle fatalities that involve speeding. In 2019, a total of 74 people were killed because of a motor vehicle accident and the number rose to 108 in 2020 (Wisconsin DMV Official Government Site – Fatalities by county). On January 14, 2019, the City-County Carjacking and Reckless Driving Task Force was established to evaluate and make recommendations to the Common Council regarding the problem of carjacking and reckless driving in Milwaukee. The task force was a collaborative effort between members of the Common Council, Mayor’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, Municipal Court, Circuit Court, Health Department, Safety and Civic Commission, Youth Council, and the community. The members were broken up into three categories: accountability and enforcement, engineering solutions, and prevention and education. The City-County Carjacking and Reckless Driving Task Force made serval recommendation such as increasing penalties for adults who participate in reckless driving, pavement narrowing, and increasing driver safety courses at Milwaukee Public Schools. Similar solutions were offered by members of the Coalition for Safe Driving MKE.
Coalition for Safe Driving MKE
The Coalition for Safe Driving MKE is comprised of a diverse group of community stakeholders throughout Milwaukee County who are concerned with making the City of Milwaukee’s streets safer for both pedestrians and drivers. The Coalitions for Safe Driving MKE’s goal is to promote safe driving on city streets and to reduce accidents, crashes, fatalities, or injuries. Celia Jackson, a founding member of the coalition, recommends three things: increase driving education, create a public campaign of awareness, and implement Vision Zero.
Vision Zero is a collaboration of government agencies, residents, and community stakeholder who commit their time and energy to ensure a shared vision of zero traffic death for the City of Milwaukee. Through education, engineering, enforcement, community engagement, and equitable practices, The City of Milwaukee can take on the problem of reckless driving in a comprehensive way. Vision Zero will prioritize safety and accessibility in areas most impacted by traffic violence. The strategic plan will promote a culture that prioritizes safe travel options for all residents and visitors of the greater Milwaukee area and use data to redesign safer roadways. The ultimate goal is that all users understand and follow traffic laws to reduce the amount of motor vehicle fatalities. In the Near West Side, we will continue to follow recommendations by the task force and community partner such as the Coalition for Safe Driving MKE to ensure the safety of all our resident. Recently, Safe and Sound, Near West Side Partners, the coalition, and approximately 30 other community stakeholders sat down with Interim Police Chief Norman of the Milwaukee Police Department about a new reckless driving unit to identify problem areas and solutions to ensure the safety of everyone on the road.
Here is what Celia Jackson at the Coalition for Safe Driving MKE plans for 2021: