Montana To Get Split Speed Limits

February 24, 1999

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A bill giving Montana auto drivers a daytime speed limit for the first time since 1995 is expected to be signed by the governor. The measure specifies lower limits for trucks than for other vehicles.

Cars and light trucks will have a 75-mph limit on interstate highways day and night, except in urban areas near Billings, Great Falls and Missoula, where the maximum will be 65. For trucks, however, the speed limit will be 65 mph at all times on the interstates.
On two-lane roads, existing speed limits of 60 mph during the day and 55 at night will stay in effect, while cars will be able to drive 70 mph during the day and 65 at night.
The Senate bill originally passed had the same 75-mph limit on interstates for cars and trucks, but the House approved a lower limit. Senators felt it was safer to have all vehicles travel the same speed, but representatives felt that trucks moving at higher speeds result in increased accidents and more severe crashes. The state trucking organization favored the lower speed limit, while the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. lobbied against what it feels are unsafe split speeds.
The speed limit will take effect May 28.

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