Milwaukee Has A Reckless Driving Epidemic

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Milwaukee Has A Reckless Driving Epidemic
Milwaukee Has A Reckless Driving Epidemic

One driver with dozens of citations demonstrates just how bad the problem has become.

Shockingly, going soft on criminals, especially those who violate the law repeatedly, comes with consequences. When those people put the public at large in danger, like driving well over the speed limited and blowing through red lights, the result will be serious injuries, even deaths. This is something cities like Milwaukee seem to be learning or re-learning in slow motion, much to the disbelief of many who already have a firm grasp on this concept.

See police catch up with a woman who stole a Corvette with $60,000 cash inside.

Fox 6 Milwaukee has repeatedly covered Dirul Chaplin, a 24-year-old man who had been pulled over dozens of times for reckless driving. Shockingly, the man in most cases didn’t have a driver’s license on him, no license plates on his car, no state registration, and no insurance. Yet police from three different agencies just let him drive away knowing he was in violation of the law and had repeatedly put others on the road in extreme danger.


Our understanding and experience in different areas of the country has been that in that type of situation, police will at minimum tow and impound the car, if not also arrest the driver. Then judges will slap the offender with some stiff fines and at least strict probation with a plea in abeyance if the violator is lucky.

Thanks to public outcry, Milwaukee police created a special traffic enforcement unit. While officers handed out quadruple the citations for the first half of the year that unit was instituted, violators reportedly just ignored their court appearances and didn’t pay the fines. In other words, increased enforcement without real consequences had little effect on violators’ behavior. Who would’ve thought?

What’s especially unbelievable is that not until January 24, 2022 did Milwaukee police get permission from the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission to change the policy on towing reckless drivers’ cars. But there’s some question about how often the new policy, which lists out very specific reasons for towing a car, is used to make those who constantly violate the law cool their heels without their ride for 30 days. It seems like this is a no-brainer way to crack down on the city’s problem.

While it seems the concern in Milwaukee has been for police abusing the ability to seize property arbitrarily, the result has been the pendulum swinging too far in the other direction, allowing repeat offenders to drive off without consequences, only to drive recklessly even more.

Some community members in Milwaukee are concerned that aggressively enforcing reckless driving policies would have a disparate impact on low-income individuals. We weren’t aware that more poor people are driving dangerously, putting others’ lives on the line. We’re also unclear on how treating violators with kid gloves will eliminate the danger to innocent bystanders.

A report by Fox 6 in March 2023 indicates all the talk about getting tough on reckless drivers in Milwaukee for the past couple of years was essentially just that, talk. An investigation conducted by the local news station concluded the only time violators have faced serious consequences was after they crash and hurt or killed someone else.

That’s a pretty horrible way to deal with this kind of problem. You don’t have to be a public policy expert to understand the value in preventative enforcement. In fact, that’s why certain laws exist, to curb dangerous behavior before it’s too late. While enforcement admittedly can get out of hand and become overly aggressive, that doesn’t mean having essentially a hands-off approach until someone gets hurt or killed is preferable.