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Milwaukee towing plan aimed at reckless drivers to start May 1

Car being towed.
Marina Gordejeva
Stock Adobe
Car being towed.

Milwaukee's Fire and Police Commission has approved a plan to let police tow unregistered vehicles involved in reckless driving.

The commission voted 5 to 1 in favor of the proposal Thursday night, following committee approval Wednesday. Police could tow unregistered vehicles involved in a crash investigation or that have been stopped for at least one of four violations, which are reckless driving, speeding at least 25 miles per hour above the limit, drag racing or fleeing an officer.

Milwaukee Police Department image on the Fire and Police Commission Facebook page
Screenshot taken by Chuck Quirmbach
Milwaukee Police Department image on the Fire and Police Commission Facebook page.

The towing plan won't take effect until May 1. So, commission Chairperson Ed Fallone offered this advice to drivers: "Get your car registered. If you get your car registered in the next two months, you will not be towed under this policy. And also, change the way you're behaving and you won't get towed. You have two months when you will be told countless times that change is coming."

Fallone called the towing plan a first step in addressing reckless driving. He promised monitoring and evaluation of the effort.

Another commissioner who voted for towing, Dana World-Patterson, said she wants the program implemented fairly across the city.

"I live these streets, so I definitely don't want it to be a target against Black and brown people. We haven't really said that, and I wanted to go on the record that we're mindful that when we name those streets that's what comes to mind. Hopefully, this is a partnership to really end the reckless driving that is occurring in our community," World-Patterson said.

Fatal crashes in Milwaukee County and the city of Milwaukee, not all due to reckless driving, declined last year from a record set in 2020. But Milwaukee police said hit and run cases and total crashes increased last year.

Opponents of the towing plan want more investments in education and prevention instead of punishment that they say could have disparate effects across the city.

In a couple of months, Milwaukee will see if towing away unregistered vehicles driven recklessly will help make streets safer.

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