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Task force on reckless driving proposes potential solutions: 'What is occurring right now is unacceptable'

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A task force looking for ways to cut down on reckless driving in Milwaukee finalized its list of recommendations Friday, March 6.

Many of the ideas involve campaigns to educate people -- particularly teens and young people -- about the dangers of reckless driving and distracted driving. Other ideas focus on lobbying to make changes to state law, better enforcement of reckless driving laws and looking at making safety improvements to roadways and intersections.

"We have to have a long-term strategy to change people's behavior because what is occurring right now is unacceptable," Alderman Michael Murphy said.

The meeting came two days after two employees from Milwaukee's Department of Public Works were hit near 52nd and Hampton.

The department's commissioner, Jeffrey Polenske spoke at the task force meeting Friday, saying reckless driving presents dangers to his workers.

"Their lives are at stake quite often," Polenske said "People are simply driving up onto medians driving onto sidewalks to pass vehicles that are going at a slower rate of speed."

The task force made changes to its list of dozens of recommendations, which have been proposed by both committee members and members of the public.

They're lobbying for several state law changes such as increased penalties statewide for reckless driving and fleeing from police. Another state law they would like to see would require all first-time drivers to take driver's education courses.

"Is there any distinction between somebody who's 30 or 35 and never having a driver's license and somebody who's 18 never having a drivers license -- their capability and knowledge and rules of the road?" asked Deputy Inspector Daniel Hughes from the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.

Mayor Tom Barrett has been advocating for a bill from Milwaukee Rep. David Crowley that would allow red light cameras statewide. Task force members are somewhat split on the issue, but one recommendation says red light cameras "have proven an effective deterrent and enforcement tool in other jurisdictions.:

Crowley's bill, however, is unlikely to pass this session.

The task force is also recommending several changes to roads and intersections to help cut down on speeding and crashes, such as speed humps and narrowing lanes.

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