snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » Urban Legends » Automobiles » Speed limits in Montana

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Speed limits in Montana
snopes
Return! Return! Return!


Icon 1 posted      Profile for snopes   Author's Homepage   E-mail snopes       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Comment: Montana used to have a speed limit of "safe and prudent" speeds.
They changed the law about 5 years ago and now have a maximum speed limit.
We have heard rumors of why this was done - the first rumor was a story
about a lawyer who was booked for driving in a manner that was not safe
and prudent therefore he was fined. He fought the fine (Montana also had
very low fines for speeding) and the government of Montana determined that
it was not worth its time to fight the lawyers battle. The second rumor
is less "fun" and has more to do with federal funding for interstate
freeways and that Montana was forced to change its speed limit in order to
maintain federal funding for the roads. What is the truth?

Posts: 36029 | From: Admin | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
csel's in 2nd Grade
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for csel's in 2nd Grade     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I don't know for sure, but I would bet on the federal funding, since that happened here in Colorado. Believe you me, we need all the federal road money we can get!

--------------------
"What is sin? I think sin is failure to grow."
-Lauren Slater, "Prozac Diary"

Posts: 172 | From: Denver, Colorado | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
guinea pig
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 304 posted      Profile for guinea pig   Author's Homepage   E-mail guinea pig   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Former Montanan here. I believe the state had to change to meet the 55 mph limit when we were still conserving gasoline. (Remember that?) And I think you're right, they would have lost federal highway funds if they didn't. With the federal limit off they've gone back to pretty high speed limits on the long, lonely stretches.

But before all that, I crested a hill between Havre and Chinook one time, going more than a little over "reasonable and prudent," and there was the Highway Patrol coming towards me! As we passed he raised his finger from the steering wheel to give me a "shame shame" sign. That was all. Guess he knew I'd slow down after that. [dunce]

Posts: 40 | From: Tumwater, WA, USA | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Noemi
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 82 posted      Profile for Noemi   E-mail Noemi   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
The OP is a mixture of a couple of things. In 1974 the federal government did force all of the states to institute the 55 mile per hour speed limit by threatening to withhold federal highway funds. (A similar tactic was used to forse the change of the minimum drinking age to 21.) When the federal government got rid of the 55 mile per hour speed limit requirement in 1995 Montana, and the other Western states, were the first to change the speed limit and Montana did go to a speed limit of 'safe and prudent'. It was later changed to a 75 miles per hour.

Noemi

--------------------
Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.
My blog, no guarantees about witty or intelligent content. My current projects.
Coveted Beads <---- our eBay store, new items being added somewhat regularly

Posts: 8418 | From: Wyoming | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Gibbie
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gibbie     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I was terribly disappointed when I crossed into Montana this year and found a speed limit. I knew that when Clinton removed the federal speed limit that they'd gone back to the "safe and prudent" but I didn't know that they'd instituted an actual speed limit later on. I was looking forward to seeing what my minivan could actually do. [Smile]

Gibbie

--------------------
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

Posts: 3993 | From: Indiana | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
WildaBeast
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 1 posted      Profile for WildaBeast   E-mail WildaBeast   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My assumption was that they instituted an actual speed limit because "safe and prudent" seems like it would be nearly impossible to enforce. That essentially forces officers to make the definition of speeding "I'll know it when I see it" rather than any sort objective standard.

--------------------
"Unseasonable is an odd word to begin with. It sounds like it's describing something that it's impossible to sprinkle pepper on." -- Nonny

Posts: 5483 | From: Just south of Folsom Prison, CA | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
kroma
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for kroma         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Since the fine was only $5.00 payable on the spot, it wasn't too much of an issue.
Posts: 165 | From: Somewhere in NY | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Elsie
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Elsie     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
But that makes it an even bigger problem. Since "safe and prudent" is such a subjective thing, how would I know that I wasn't stopped just to get my $5? Extortion for $5 is still extortion.

--------------------
I'm an excellent speller, but a lousy typist.
"Just so you know, the words 'just' and 'cramps' - they don't go together." - Ginger Snaps

Posts: 323 | From: Chandler, AZ | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
RichardM
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for RichardM   Author's Homepage   E-mail RichardM   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Both contentions of the OP are true. But my only cites are my memory so that isn't too reliable. The lawyer story is what I read after the 55 limit was recinded and the S&P restored but I also read at the time of pressure from the Feds.
Posts: 129 | From: Dallas | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
greatbeast
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for greatbeast     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
When I was living in Montana for a year my ex's parents mentioned the speed limits were changed due to the high fatality rate on the road (In a lot of small towns out west the main entertainment is drinking, especially for teens....combine with a bit of a flexible idea on speed limits....well we can all guess the results.

As far as enforcement goes...well you can easily do in the 90's there on the open stretches of highway when you can go literally miles and miles without seeing anything other than maybe a car a couple miles ahead and another maybe a few miles behind.... Of course me being from Back East and driving an older car with 130K on it, I decided to go a bit slower at times since a wipe out would be bad.

Posts: 23 | From: Taunton, MA | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
jamira
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for jamira         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My ex got a ticket for driving 90 mph instead of reasonable and prudent, and I can tell you the fine is a LOT more than $5. It was almost $100. They did change back to a 65 mph (or maybe 70) and 60 mph for trucks at least 6 years ago.
Posts: 44 | From: Boundary, BC, Canada | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
jamira
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for jamira         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Oh yeah, the speeds WERE changed due to federal funding.
Posts: 44 | From: Boundary, BC, Canada | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Biker
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Biker   E-mail Biker   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
From the Montana DOT here are the speed limits now. They went into effect May 28, 1999.

75 mph d/n interstates non-trucks
65 mph d/n interstates trucks
70/65 mph d/n two lane highways non-trucks
60/55 mph d/n two lane highways trucks

http://www.mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/speed%5Flimit.shtml

Always enjoyed my rides and drives in MT. Two lanes in outer MT is very fast yet today.

--------------------
Everyday is a good day to ride.

Posts: 18 | From: Wisconsin | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Hgarnerno1
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Hgarnerno1   E-mail Hgarnerno1   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by guinea pig:
Former Montanan here. I believe the state had to change to meet the 55 mph limit when we were still conserving gasoline. (Remember that?) And I think you're right, they would have lost federal highway funds if they didn't. With the federal limit off they've gone back to pretty high speed limits on the long, lonely stretches.

But before all that, I crested a hill between Havre and Chinook one time, going more than a little over "reasonable and prudent," and there was the Highway Patrol coming towards me! As we passed he raised his finger from the steering wheel to give me a "shame shame" sign. That was all. Guess he knew I'd slow down after that. [dunce]


Posts: 2 | From: Tyler, Texas | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Hgarnerno1
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Hgarnerno1   E-mail Hgarnerno1   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My question to you is which finger did ne raise?
Posts: 2 | From: Tyler, Texas | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Green Eggs and Spam
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Green Eggs and Spam     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Back when the speed limit was 55 in Montana, my dad was driving across it on his way from Seattle to Minnesota. He was stopped for speeding and was charged with "wasting natural resources," so it wouldn't go on his driving record. He was allowed to pay the $5.00 fine on the spot and was sent on his way. Later on he found out if he had been stopped again, he could show his ticket and say he already paid, and he wouldn't be charged again. So when the limit was 55 mph, they weren't enforcing it very hard.
Posts: 272 | From: Winchester, Virginia | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2