MILWAUKEE — It has been little more than a year since Tanisha Peer lost her nephew, Danari Peer, in a reckless driving incident.
She said he was only 20 years old and had a lot of life left to live.
“Loved his niece,” Peer recalled. “Great kid. Huge smile. Funny, smart and he was just the friend all his friends could come to and count on.”
Peer is one of many advocates who spoke at the World Day of Remembrance for Milwaukee’s Victims of Road Traffic Violence hosted by the Coalition for Safe Driving MKE.
“It’s time to start coming up with solutions,” said Peer. “Real solutions. It’s time for people that are in positions that have actual power to do something to start listening to the people in the community.”
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) reports there were about 144,000 crashes on Wisconsin roadways in 2018. That number dropped by nearly 16,000 in 2022.
Over the last five years, a majority of these crashes (52%) happened on local streets and roads. State highways were the second highest, having accounted for about 30% of crashes. County highways made up 9% of crashes and the fewest (8%) happened on interstates in Wisconsin.
Crashes involving pedestrians decreased in those same five years, going from around 1,500 crashes in 2018 to a little more than 1,300 last year.
But what has remained steady over the years is the amount of crashes involving reckless driving. In 2022, about 4.5% of all crashes involved reckless driving.
Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffery Norman said with the holidays coming up, it’s important to slow down and be cautious out on the roads.
“Be that person who is going to impact and intervene when you see something that’s going to be bad behavior, especially with your loved ones,” said Norman. “We all have responsibilities. It’s not just one person, it’s all of us.”
The DOT said safety on Wisconsin roads is a top priority. Officials said several recent policy changes are expected to have a positive effect on traffic safety.
Among them was a law passed in May of this year that increased penalties for reckless driving and imposed fees on anyone convicted of reckless driving.
The DOT also has more safety resources, here.
Peer said she doesn’t want another family to feel the pain they’ve had to endure after losing her nephew.
“My goal and hope is to make sure my nephew is remembered,” said Peer.