Bills increasing reckless driving penalties get OK from WI Assembly committee

March 9, 2023

Rep. Bob Donovan, the author of the bills, says they are an effort to hold reckless drivers accountable

A pair of bills that would increase penalties for reckless driving received approval Tuesday, March 7, 2023, in a Wisconsin State Assembly committee.

The first would double reckless driving fines and jail time. The second would allow cities to tow vehicles if the person is caught driving recklessly and has unpaid fines.

These bipartisan bills appear to be gaining momentum at the State Capitol. Both were approved on March 7 by an Assembly committee, receiving votes in support from both Democrats and Republicans.

This comes a week after a public hearing where Milwaukee’s mayor, the Milwaukee police union and people affected by reckless driving advocated for harsher penalties.

The first bipartisan bill would double reckless driving citation fines and maximum jail sentences for felony- level offenses.

The second bill would allow cities to authorize police to have vehicles towed if a person is caught driving recklessly and has a prior reckless driving fine that hasn’t been paid.

Rep. Bob Donovan — the author of the bills — said they are an effort to hold reckless drivers accountable.

During the public hearing last week, some lawmakers questioned if most drivers would pay the steeper fines or if judges would impose longer jail sentences. Donovan’s office said they will now push for a vote on the Assembly floor.