By Vince Bobot
Everyone wants to know what is happening on our streets. From hit and run accidents causing deaths to reckless driving, road rage and drivers running red lights, the problems seem to be getting worse year after year.
The answer to that question can be found by looking back in time. Many years ago, the Milwaukee Police Department had a meaningful traffic division where motorcycle officers would enforce the traffic laws on our streets and investigate accidents in a competent and timely manner. That division was merged with a uniform division and has never been the same since. Now, there is little or no enforcement of traffic laws on our streets. It is also common for people to wait hours before a police officer investigates their accident, if any investigation is done at all.
Our high schools had driver’s education classes. Now, that no longer seems to be a priority in school resulting in generations of our children lacking knowledge of the rules of the road and more importantly, a driver’s license. The result has been a substantial number of people with the attitude that they do not need a valid driver’s license to drive a motor vehicle, but only a car. Unfortunately, that attitude led to some disastrous results. Convictions for traffic violations lead to lost job opportunities, large fines and possibly, time in jail.
We need to go back to the basics. The solution to the problems on our roadways should begin with meaningful enforcement of the rules of the road. A traffic citation should be handled in our Municipal Court system with the goal of having people obtaining a valid Wisconsin driver’s license and automobile insurance. A traffic conviction with payment of a fine and demerit points pales in comparison to someone becoming a responsible driver on our roadways. The goal is to stress the importance of complying with traffic laws, obtaining a valid driver’s license and automobile insurance. Driver’s seldom, if ever, receive a citation for a traffic violation. Driver’s education classes need to be taught again to our youth.
Driver education should become a priority again in our school system. A licensed driver is someone who knows the rules of the road and realizes that driving is a privilege that needs to be protected. The goal should be to have nearly every student graduate high school with a valid driver’s license. A driver’s license will assist our youth in job opportunities and access to their place of work.
We cannot arrest our way out of this problem. We need to educate our youth and others about the importance of obtaining a-valid driver’s license. We must also demand that meaningful enforcement of traffic laws are again conducted on our roadways. A traffic citation should be considered an avenue to stress the importance of having a valid driver’s license, automobile insurance and more importantly, compliance with traffic laws while driving a motor vehicle.