NewsProject: Drive Safer


Milwaukee's city attorney calls for tougher consequences for reckless drivers

"So many people, so many of these young folks that are committing the offenses, seem to be insensitive to the penalty associated with what they do."
Posted at 5:05 PM, Nov 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-07 19:16:57-05

MILWAUKEE — In a rare one-on-one interview, Milwaukee City Attorney Tearman Spencer told TMJ4's Ryan Jenkins that he believes it's time for tougher consequences and bigger penalties for the worst reckless drivers on Milwaukee Streets.

A growing pile of documents on Spencer's desk served as evidence, he said, that police are cracking down on reckless drivers and this his office is busy prosecuting the charges.

"We're doing all that we can within the law. We get the citations, we get the offenders and we prosecute," said Spencer.

Spencer's team shared fresh data that showed that 500 drivers have been charged with "reckless driving - endangering safety," between the first of the year and Halloween in 2022. A problem that appears to only be getting worse.

"I've been seeing on average a 10-percent increase every month," Spencer said.

Milwaukee Police also told TMJ4 on Monday that one person has been charged with public nuisance after racking up 45 traffic-related citations. The city filed a civil lawsuit against that individual over the summer and at that time, police also warned nearly two-dozen other repeat reckless drivers that lawsuits may be headed their way as well.

"So many people, so many of these young folks that are committing the offenses, seem to be insensitive to the penalty associated with what they do. So, we have to find a way to enlighten them to such a manner that it will be a deterrent to them," said Spencer.

Spencer said he believes consequences need to be more stringent.

"I think if we catch someone driving recklessly, and in light of all the lives that are being lost, I think we should go past suspending your license and fining you. I think they should probably take a little vacation and be incarcerated for a while and think about what they're doing," said Spencer. "Look at the statistics. Lives are being lost weekly. Let's send a message."

As Spencer makes a plea to legislators to understand the need for stricter penalties, he also had a message for drivers on the streets of Milwaukee.

"That car is just not a toy. It's a weapon and if you operate that weapon in a destructive manner, somebody is going to lose their life. So, be very cognizant and stop. Stop the behavior," said Spencer.

Clear messages from the city attorney as he says his office works diligently to keep up with a voluminous workload - cracking down on reckless drivers.

"We have an increase in violators and a decrease in resources, so we have to try to find ways to manage," said Spencer.

Share your experience with reckless driving at

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip