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Milwaukee reckless driving task force finalizes list of proposed solutions: ‘No one single answer’

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MILWAUKEE -- After almost a year of discussion, city and county leaders met March 6 to finalize a list of proposed solutions to curb reckless driving throughout the Milwaukee community.

Falling under three main categories -- engineering solutions; accountability and enforcement; and prevention and education -- recommendations came from both task force members and the public following two community input sessions over the past several months.

Since forming the Milwaukee City-County Carjacking and Reckless Driving Task Force in April 2019, members are one step closer to putting their plans into action.

Michael Murphy

"We know no one single answer is going to be solving this problem. If that was the case, we'd be done in one day," said Michael Murphy, alderman for Milwaukee's 10th district.

Led by Murphy, the 15-person panel debated a list of more than 50 recommendations Friday aimed at improving safety on the roads.

"I don't know how to keep these kids out of the stolen cars, and I don't know how to keep them from fleeing police. Because when they do it, they're back on the street in record time," Assistant Milwaukee County District Attorney Joy Hammond said.

Joy Hammond

Hammond proposed lobbying the state legislature to give juvenile courts more discretion when it comes to holding young reckless driving offenders accountable.

"We are pipelining these kids to adult court by not giving them consequences earlier and significantly," said Hammond.

The idea, though, was met with skepticism from task force community representatives who fear incarcerations will only lead to more repeat offenders.

Nichole Yunk Todd

"After the prison sentence has been served, then what," Nichole Yunk Todd, vice president of the ACLU of Wisconsin said. "That same maturity could have developed in a different venue and they wouldn't have lost three years of their lives."

The task force also discussed making driver's ed mandatory for people of all ages and impounding unregistered vehicles that have been involved in reckless driving incidents.

"If we can get back to a point where a driver's license means something...then I think we're in a way better place," Hammond said.

Next, the finalized recommendations will be sent to Milwaukee's Public Safety and Health Committee. Ultimately, they must be voted on by the full Milwaukee Common Council and approved by the mayor before they can be implemented.


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