MILWAUKEE - Reckless driving is an issue Milwaukee leaders have been trying to combat for years.
On Thursday, March 11, FOX6 News got a behind-the-scenes look, riding along with the Milwaukee Police Department's newly launched Traffic Safety Unit (TSU).
Milwaukee drivers are all too familiar with how dangerous getting behind the wheel can be. That's why MPD is hitting the road to put the brakes on reckless driving.
The TSU, launched in late February, is saturating various parts of Milwaukee to enforce traffic laws, educate the community, and engineer safer streets.
Officer Alan Klaudi with the Milwaukee Police Department's Traffic Safety Unit
On Thursday, during FOX6 News' ride-along, Officer Alan Klaudi with MPD's Traffic Safety Unit made a traffic stop near Fond du Lac and Townsend, where the speed limit is 30 mph. The driver in question was clocked going 48 mph.
"We're trying to get people to slow down," Klaudi told the driver. "This is what we're trying to stop."
In that driver's case, doing 18 over the limit meant a costly ticket -- $124.
"The goal of every citation is to change behavior," said Klaudi.
Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) Traffic Safety Unit (TSU)
Officer Klaudi and Officer Lydia Rivera-Holey said they joined the TSU to be part of the solution.
"It's not just a north side issue, it's not just a south side issue, it's city-wide," Rivera-Holey said.
Milwaukee police said reckless driving-related citations increased 23% between 2019 and 2020.
"People are using these streets as if they're highways," said Rivera-Holey.
Officer Lydia Rivera-Holey with the Milwaukee Police Department's Traffic Safety Unit (TSU)
Between 2019 and 2020, fatal crashes in Milwaukee were up 51%, many involving children, Rivera-Holey added.
Just this week, police said a drunk driver was speeding near 34th and Greenfield when he crashed into a parked car, killing a 3 1/2-month-old baby in his vehicle.
"It's so unfortunate. It's not necessary," Klaudi said.
Wreck at 34th and Greenfield in Milwaukee on Monday March 8
For the TSU, cracking down on speed and other reckless behavior -- like running red lights and driving in bike lanes -- means saving lives.
"Speed is a number one factor in collisions," said Klaudi. "We really need a buy-in from the community to look at themselves and change their own behavior. To slow down -- they don't have to make that light."
"I think together we can all do our part to make driving in the city better," Rivera-Holey said.
Residents can be part of the solution, too. When observing reckless driving, authorities ask that you take a mental note of it, then, when you arrive safely at your destination, report it through the TSU's website. Forms are available in both English and Spanish.