GOVERNMENTS in one Midwestern state crack down on drivers who violate a fine in certain areas, leaving some potentially fined $10,000 for violations.
In West Allis, Wisconsin, a Milwaukee suburb, city officials passed legislation in November 2021 that would dramatically increase fines for dangerous driving.
Police found that a charge of reckless driving carries a maximum fine of $200 — but a new specification for unsafe operation of a motor vehicle has been introduced to protect citizens, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
As part of the city’s “reckless driving deterrence campaign,” District Attorney Kail Decker and the West Allis Police Department launched an initiative to prosecute for “negligent vehicle operation.”
The seemingly tougher law enacted in the region last year could mean drivers face a maximum fine of $10,000 for violators in 2023.
Decker pointed out that the Highway Code is a Class A misdemeanor and the high fee is intended to protect against overall unsafe driving.
“This increases the penalty for reckless driving to deter it,” the prosecutor noted in a press release, according to MJS.
West Allis Deputy Chief of Police Chris Marks also pointed out that police officers in the area have discretion to decide whether the dangerous driver should be charged with reckless driving or negligent operation of a vehicle.
However, Marks stressed in an email to the publication that negligent operation of a vehicle would only be used where “the operator exhibited a high degree of negligence.”
According to the assistant director, reckless driving is an ongoing problem for the City of West Allis.
He cited 16 subpoenas in 2019 and 2020 and several other fines related to unsafe driving that could have resulted in accidents.
West Allis Mayor Dan Devine also cited several complaints from residents.
“I’ve received many complaints about reckless driving from almost every part of the city,” he told the MJS.
“I’ve also seen it myself way too many times when I was in church.
The mayor added: “This applies not only to motorways, but also to secondary roads.”
The reckless driving law was introduced in 2022 as part of West Allis’ city budget, and another $25,000 was spent on high-definition cameras on city corners to capture dangerous driving, Devine told the MJS.
Prosecutor Decker also pointed out that dashcams could be another step to help the city combat reckless driving and careless vehicle operation.
He claimed more motorists in the area are putting them on their vehicles, and a further step could be for witnesses to submit their footage to police to help catch drivers who break either law.
Still, city officials and Deputy Chief Marks are confident that the fines for negligently operating a vehicle will be increased.
“We believe this initiative will result in a reduction in reckless motorists in West Allis, and we will continue to provide resources and implement strategies to prevent this dangerous behavior,” Marks said.
For more related content, check out the US Sun’s coverage of a harsh driving law that could subject repeat offenders to a $5,000 fine and potentially five years in prison.
The US Sun also has an exclusive article on what a traffic attorney called their top crackdown law that can prevent speeding tickets.