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Rules for safe driving in Montana

Motorists in Montana may find it useful to learn some basic traffic rules for driving and following safety standards. According to the Department of Justice, each year, more than 200 people lose their lives in car accidents. However, a few simple measures can protect motorists from devastating accidents. Those include driving within the speed limit, wearing a seat belt while driving and not driving under the influence of alcohol.

In Montana, there are several laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol. The permissible blood alcohol content limit is 0.08, and for drivers under 21 years, it is 0.02. Those drivers must consent to having their BAC tested. The driver may refuse to perform the test, but in that case, the driver's license may be suspended for a certain period of time.

The person's license may also be revoked or suspended, depending on whether it was a first offense or a repeated offense. First-time DUI offenders may face a prison sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000. The vehicle may also be confiscated and if the offender has repeated the offense four times, it is considered a felony.

Seatbelts reduce the chance of being seriously hurt in a car accident. Thus, the Montana Seatbelt Use Act makes it mandatory for every occupant of the car to wear a seatbelt, even if the person is traveling a short distance. However, if the person fails to wear a seatbelt while driving, it is not considered a serious offense and the guilty driver may only be fined $20.

However, authorities stress the importance of wearing a seatbelt because it helps to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities by a large percentage. Some vehicles, such as a tractor and vehicles manufactured before 1968, are not required by the original standards to have seatbelts installed. Exemptions also apply for some bus drivers, school bus passengers and for people who do not use a seatbelt for medical reasons.

Speed limits must be maintained according to standards in Montana. The daytime speed limit and nighttime speed limit are different, and drivers are advised to strictly adhere to those. Montana law also requires drivers to consider traffic, weather, visibility and road conditions while driving.

Source: Montana Department of Justice, "Driving Safety," Accessed on April 17, 2015

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