West Allis moving closer to enforcing harsher fines for dangerous driving

NOW: West Allis moving closer to enforcing harsher fines for dangerous driving

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WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- It's an issue across our area that activists and lawmakers have been trying to address for some time: reckless driving.

Tuesday, Nov. 2, the city of West Allis looked at enforcing a law against dangerous drivers that could land them with a fine of up to $10,000.

City officials said they want police to enforce a state statute with harsher penalties, and it's one step closer to approval.

"Reckless driving in our city has been more than just stolen vehicles, it has been people running red lights, it has been people speeding in the passing lane, passing vehicles, things like that," said West Allis Mayor Dan Divine.

Communities across our area, including West Allis, are seeing a rise in reckless driving incidents.

"It's been a complaint that we've heard a lot of, the council hears a lot of, and we've come up with a three-prong approach going into the next year with the budget," said Mayor Devine.

One of those changes is higher definition cameras at intersections to keep track of who is coming and going.

Another change is charging drivers with "negligent operation of a vehicle" instead of "reckless driving."

"The reason we're looking at is because the fine for that can be $10,000, whereas the reckless driving fine can only go up to $200," said Devine.

West Allis City Attorney Kail Decker explained further how this comes into effect when people on private property are endangered by a driver.

"The idea is to utilize the higher forfeitures of a Class A misdemeanor, which is $10,000. It's been adopted by the city for a long time, just hasn't been used in this way before, but by doing so it creates an increased penalty for reckless driving with an intent of deterring it," said Decker.

Mayor Devine said so far, police seem to be on board with the idea.

The budget will be voted on Nov. 16.

"We're hoping that this will get people's attention that we're really stepping up our enforcement," said Devine.

One Common Council member said one way or another, reckless driving is something the council plans to take action on.

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