Wisconsin Senate votes to double reckless driving penalties

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Fines and forfeitures for reckless driving would double under a bipartisan bill that received final approval from the Wisconsin Senate on Wednesday.

The measure is part of a Republican-backed push to crack down on people driving dangerously across the state but particularly in Milwaukee, where Mayor Cavalier Johnson has called rising rates of reckless driving a crisis.

The bill now goes to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who has voiced his support for the measure and other legislation creating harsher penalties for irresponsible driving and carjacking. Evers signed a bill into law earlier this month allowing local governments to impound unsafe drivers’ vehicles.

Under the bill — which the Senate approved in a 30-2 vote — fine and forfeiture ranges would increase to a maximum of $400 for a first offense and $1,000 for a subsequent offense.

The maximum fine for reckless driving that causes bodily harm would rise to $4,000. Reckless drivers who cause great bodily harm would face sentences of up to six years in prison, up from the current maximum of three-and-a-half years.