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Montana may increase speed limits as well as fines for speeding

Montana is a vast state and many people rely on motor vehicles to travel. Since distances are great, speed limits on the roadways are an important factor when people have limited time on their hands. According to existing laws in Montana, the speed limit for passenger vehicles is 75 miles per hour, while the speed limit for big trucks is 60 miles per hour when they are moving on a two-lane highway. It is 65 miles per hour when the trucks are on an interstate highway.

A recent development in Montana may, however, soon change that. According to news reports, a state senator has proposed a speed limit increase on Montana roadways. The senator suggested that the speed limit of passenger vehicles be increased to 80 miles per hour and for trucks to 70 miles per hour, irrespective of whether the trucks are on a two-lane road or an interstate. However, on the flipside, the same senator proposed that fines for speeding, currently $20 or $40, be incrementally increased to $200.

Per estimates by the Montana Governor's Office of Budget and Program Planning, the increase in fines can generate additional revenue of $50,000 per year for the state. The chief of the Montana Highway Patrol pointed out that the seven states surrounding Montana have an average fine of $102 for driving 1 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit and an average of $137 for driving 11 to 20 mph over the speed limit. Interestingly, it was the MHP that opposed an earlier proposition for increasing speed limits to 85 miles per hour.

An increase in the speed limits on Montana roads would be a welcome move for many residents of the state. However, higher speeds also contribute toward increasing the risk of car accidents. Fines this high may deter some drivers from speeding, but there are many reckless individuals who do not follow the law and, in most cases, those are the same people who cause crashes. Crashes can cause severe damage injury or death, leaving victims to consider taking legal action.

Source: GreatFallsTribune.com, "Montana Senate hears 80 mph speed limit proposal," Alison Noon, March 5, 2015

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