The pretty obvious question of “What’s it going to take to fix the problem?” looms large over the issue of reckless driving.
Attitudes have shifted toward a, shall we say, less structured environment where it almost seems like the wild west. And as we’ve seen, this has cost lives. Education and awareness of the problem seems to be the first step in tackling this.
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales says organized grass roots initiatives are a big plus. He was part of the Take It EZ Milwaukee campaign that actually ended in October of 2019.
“I know Alderman Donovan and Alderman Borkowski were looking to get additional funds to keep it going,” says Morales.
“You know, we want to applaud the efforts [however] in my opinion it didn’t give us what we were looking for. But again, when we’re having the issues we’re having with traffic, I am going to encourage the efforts from others because it takes a team to take care of some of the issues that we have with traffic.”
There’s also the Task Force on Carjacking and Reckless driving, headed up by Alderman Michael Murphy which actually started before Take it Ez. With various listening sessions taking place, they’ve collected a large number of suggestions right from the community that the task force will examine for feasibility and see which ones they can put into place.
“Take It EZ really looks at the accountability and the enforcement side by providing additional funding for police officers,” explains Murphy.
“But when you look at this problem it has to be attacked from a multi-dimensional, multi-strategic direction. We know changing behavior certainly can be done through accountability but certainly other changes as engineering solutions and prevention and education can also assist in that effort.”
The lack of free drivers education classes in area schools seems to also be contributing to the issue. There used to be a time when you’d be able to take drivers ed in school for free.
Now MPS is offering a program called “MPS Drive”. According to the MPS Website, they offer students meeting eligibility criteria free classroom and behind-the-wheel courses. The only fee of $35 is to cover the temporary permit.
The big takeaway is it’s got to be a multi-faceted approach along with increased enforcement and even physical changes to the road, which we’ll look at in tomorrow’s installment.
All these efforts can go a long way toward helping shift the attitudes back to a safe driving environment.