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  • Celia Jackson

Coalition for Safe Driving MKE

Governor Tony Evers 115 East Wisconsin State Capitol

Madison, WI 53702


June 11, 2020


Governor Tony Evers


Re: Waiver of Road Test for teens


Dear Governor Evers,


I write on behalf of a group of citizens that are addressing reckless driving in Milwaukee. We are the Coalition for Safe Driving MKE. We have been a voice in the community especially in connection with a City County Task Force created in Milwaukee County to address carjacking and reckless driving.


In Milwaukee, there has been a substantial increase over the last five years of speed related crashes and reckless driving. A significant number of these crashes are the acts of teen drivers. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, statistics reveal that in Milwaukee in 2015 22% of the fatalities were connected to teen drivers; the number increased to 26% in 2018. These numbers indicate that 20-25% of the crashes in Milwaukee County are teen related.


We certainly understand that there is a substantial backlog for young people wanting to take the road test. Obtaining a driver’s license is a rite of passage into adulthood. However, it demands a great deal of responsibility. Today there are so many competing factors for anyone to consider when driving on the streets, especially in urban areas. There are the distractions of texting while driving, excessive speeding and disregard for the rules of the road. Under the best of circumstances, it is a challenge navigating the streets. To allow teens to obtain a license without the benefit of passing a road test is a major concern. It heightens an already dangerous reality on our city streets with an invitation for more unprepared drivers.


Insurance is yet another factor to consider. Many vehicle owners find the cost of insurance to be prohibitive due to the rise of crashes and other traffic violations. The addition of a teen driver most likely increases a parent’s premium and with this new policy there may be more costs because the road test has been waived.


We’d like to recommend that the State of Wisconsin consider collaborating with the private driving schools to address the backlog. They have worked with the school districts to teach driver’s education. It seems reasonable that they could also assist with the road test and would be a viable alternative to waiving it altogether


In Georgia, the Governor waived the road test and then reversed the decision after members of the public voiced their concerns. As citizens of the state, we are asking you to reconsider and reverse this decision. There are certainly more options to ensure that teens are learning how to navigate the streets. The statistics above certainly demonstrate that there is an urgent concern in our community.


We also ask how can we create a balance that allows for teens to have their opportunity to get a driver’s license and take this moment to engage in an awareness campaign of the challenges that many city drivers face today? We strongly believe that we can create momentum to address the concerns of our community by working collaboratively. Is there a way that the Department of Transportation, Insurance companies, concerned citizens and other stakeholders can rally together to ignite our state to be more proactive in protecting our streets and roadways? We believe it is possible. It just requires the will, the resources and the commitment to prioritize the safety of our citizens who use the streets. It would be in our best interest if the State of Wisconsin could take the lead.


We recognize that you are working hard to keep us all safe in the face of covid-19 and your efforts to revive our economy. We thank you for your hard work, resilience and thoughtfulness during this extremely challenging time. There are so many issues and concerns to be addressed. And, we can only take them on one step at a time.


In conclusion, we ask you to reconsider this new policy on waiving road test and explore ways that we as concerned citizens can work collaboratively with the State in the fight against reckless driving. Our safety and security depend on it.


If there are any questions, you can reach us at coalitionforsafedrivingmke@gmail.com


Sincerely,

Celia M. Jackson, On behalf of the Coalition for Safe Driving MKE


cc: Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes Shandowlyon Henricks Williams Secretary Craig Thompson Kristina Boardman, Division of Motor Vehicles Joe Davis, Wisconsin Department of Transportation David Crowley, Milwaukee County Executive Anthony Burrell, Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Keith Posley, Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Mayor Tom Barrett Members of the Milwaukee Common Council Ald. Hamilton

Ald. Johnson

Ald. Kovac Ald. Bauman

Ald. Dodd Ald. Coggs Ald. Rainey

Ald. Zamarripa

Ald. Lewis Ald. Murphy

Ald. Borkowski

Ald. Perez Ald. Spiker

Ald. Dimitrijevic Ald. Stamper Members of the Wisconsin State Senate, Milwaukee County Districts Sen. Carpenter Sen. Darling Sen. Johnson Sen. Larson Sen. Taylor Members of the Wisconsin State Assembly, Milwaukee County Districts Rep. Riemer

Rep. Cabrera

Rep. Bowen

Rep. Fields

Rep. Myers

Rep. Vining Rep. Haywood

Rep. Brostoff

Rep. Sinicki

Rep. Rodriguez

Rep. Sanfileppo

Rep. Hutton


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