By on December 1, 2014

hiwayspeed65

Today’s young drivers don’t believe it, but before 1973 and from 1995 to 1998, there really was effectively no speed limit on Montana freeways. In 1998, in response to a traitor’s motorist’s decision to contest his “reasonable speed” tickets all the way to the Montana Supreme Court, a limit of 75mph was imposed.

That limit may be raised in short order.

Four Montana legislators are sponsoring bills that could raise the speed limit to 85mph. This would tie a Texas toll road for highest speed limit in the nation and would be the highest speed limit on public roadways. The rationale? Simply to save time for drivers covering long distances on lightly-trafficked freeways.

Should this occur, it will create a rather unique situation for those of us who own vehicles with late-Seventies speedometers. Given the fact that most speedos read a little high, you’ll be able to “peg” the dial on your 1980 Ford LTD without breaking the law. The times, they are a changin’!

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96 Comments on “Montana’s Raising The Limit Again...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Whoooooooooooooooooooooo! That might actually make me want to visit Montana.

    “The rationale? Simply to save time for drivers covering long distances on lightly-trafficked freeways.”

    Honestly quite a bit of the Western United States (between population centers) could be classified that way but I don’t mean that as an insult. It is a compliment and one of the reasons I enjoy living here.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Glacier National Park is a way better reason to visit Montana than driving boring straight roads at high speeds. Assuming you can get a little bit of space from all the stupid RVs, the Beartooth Pass in southern Montana is also brilliant.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Having driven across Montana a number of times, both North-South and East-West, all I can say is YEAH! People from populated areas cannot begin to fathom how empty that state is.

    Of course, I did manage to get my only speeding ticket this century in Montana, in a renta-Taurus. In the absolute middle of nowhere, for 88 in a 70. $40 fine, paid on the spot, sweetest little old lady state trooper you could ever imagine. Who apologized because she thought the just raised fine was too much money. Evidently it was $25 until just a few weeks before.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      In the mid 1970s, I got a ticket for 69 in a 55 (national speed limit back then) in Riley County, Kansas. After returning home, I called the court house to ask about paying the ticket. The clerk who answered said $1 per mile and apologized for having to charge $5 court costs.

      One of the reasons for the 75 limit in Montana was that judges were throwing out 100 mph tickets as long as the accused was driving well otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      LOL this story is great. When was this? Doing 18 miles over here in Ohio you’d be looking at probably $125.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        (2008) 85 in a 65 (interstate) NM, non-“Safety Corridor”, $75.

        (2012) 75 in a 55 (state highway) NM, Safety Corridor”, $350.

        (2014) 66 in a 55 (state highway) NM, warning told to keep it 65 and under and they won’t bother me. The 66 mph was because I had hit resume on an uphill stretch with the cruise set at 65.

        State Highway patrol all three times.

        • 0 avatar
          This Is Dawg

          Oh god how I hate those safety corridors. Are they for fog conditions? I never understood the point, but it kind of made sense once when it was super foggy all day.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            In NM a safety corridor means that it is a high accident area so they lower the speed limit and up the fine. No one has ever been able to show me any data to demonstrate that instituting a “Safety Corridor” actually results in fewer deaths.

            In my area the frustration is that the “safety corridor” on US 491 is four lane and the non-safety corridor is two lane! So 55 mph in the four lane and 65 mph in the two lane. WTF?!?!?!

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            The safety corridor on I-10 between Las Cruces and Deming, and the one between Deming and Lordsburg have been in place for decades because of possible high winds and blowing dust storms.

            Invariably, there’s always a State cop patrolling there and they will cite you if your headlights are not on when traversing the safety corridor, or if you’re speeding, or if you’re stopped on the road deck for any reason.

            In case you have to stop because of visibility issues, you are advised to pull completely off the road way and completely away from the asphalt so others don’t plow into you. Huge signs to remind you along the way.

            All that, and the road deck is badly cracked due to weathering and lack of funds to fix it all.

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        18 over in a 65 in Ohio would put you in reckless operating territory, officer discretion. Ten points assessed to license $225 plus figure another $200 for the speeding ticket.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        2005. The week that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, oddly enough.

        18 over in Maine would be $250 or so, once all the fees and surcharges are tacked on. And the annual hit from your insurance company. And of course, there is the minor detail that a road like I was on would not have been a 70mph speed limit, more likely a 50mph limit. 55 at most.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          80 in a 70 zone in California is $367. BFF got one on I-10 going East near Indio, CA.

          He was the only one with out-of-state license plates and was chased down and pulled over out of a pack of a dozen or so cars all doing the same speed.

          I have never known him to get a speeding ticket since his motto is, “Go with the flow!”

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      That would get you three days in jail in Virginia.

    • 0 avatar

      @krhodes1

      I know just how empty that state is (or was, in 1975). I rode a bicycle across it west-east mostly on Rt. 2, did get off to go through glacier, and went on some other roads between Spokane and Libby.

      I would joke that MT stood for either mountains or emp-ty.

      Beautiful state, although I like Utah even better. When I visited there in ’01, on long stretches of interstate between towns that were empty of other cars, I drove 85-90. And more at 90.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      You used to be able to purchase prepaid speeding tickets in Montana. Just tear one off and go $15

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      As I recall, back in the 1970s and for many years after, Montana had a $5 fine for “speeding” on Interstate highways, but it wasn’t called that. It was called a fine for “failing to conserve energy” and it didn’t go on your driving record.

      Apparently Montanans didn’t like a bunch of easterners telling them what their speed limits should be, but they had to go along with it in order to continue to receive federal highway funds (Montana didn’t finish construction of its Interstate highways until the early 1980s) and they only met the letter of the law and not its spirit. At least until they decided they could use the money from speeding fines.

  • avatar
    Fred

    My 1985 Mustang speedo had a bunch lines after 85 mph, no numbers but I had it up to 125 once or twice, or at least I think I did.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      The mid-eighties K-car speedo was round and it didn’t have a peg. 360 degrees (back around to 0) was about 120-125mph, although there was only enough horsepower to get between about 90-100. 90 degrees counter-clockwise was about 40mph… in reverse… and reeeeeally hard to steer without losing control (speaking from personal^H^H^H one of my, uh, friends did this, yeah, that’s right, I would never do something so crazy).

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    For whatever reason, this jogged a long dormant memory of a Popular Mechanics article covering a journey with the new 1997 Pontiac Transport Montana through Montana at “Reasonable and Prudent” speeds I read from while slacking off in English class.

    I got caught, which is probably why it sticks out. I also ‘borrowed’ the copy from the school’s library, but no one picked up on that and I returned it with no one the wiser.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=RWYEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=montana+reasonable+and+prudent+pontiac+transport+popular+mechanics&source=bl&ots=Ki0h067tg_&sig=xnl0aqRWDYmhwFF1NafFkFhLuFc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=J958VJS0EpHvoATf6oEQ&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=montana%20reasonable%20and%20prudent%20pontiac%20transport%20popular%20mechanics&f=false

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    85 sounds good. It’s also about the maximum useful speed for long distance car travel. Much faster than that, and you’re stopping for fuel too often and your average speed doesn’t increase that much.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    This is getting better.
    Personally I found 100mph to be the sweet spot of brisk and comfortable speed in Germany.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I found it to be 115-120mph in my 328i. Still comfortable, but covered ground very rapidly. Above that took a lot more concentration.

      I was surprised that at an average speed of 105mph, the car still managed 25mpg.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Nice, I’ve never thought about measuring mileage at a triple digit speed. That’s piqued my curiosity?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Is that a N20 328i?

        I happened to notice on one of the few high-speed runs I’ve made in my G8 GXP that fuel mileage was under 10 mpg at 120 mph. It’s 24 mpg at 70 mph.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          N52 – non-turbo 3.0l 6. I was very pleasantly surprised. And it had ~300 miles on it at the start of the trip. Of course, this was also on mid-grade German gas with no corn juice in it.

          On US gas I get 32ish at 70ish average speeds. Which is noticeably worse than I got at similar speeds in Sweden and Finland. That corn juice DOES hurt.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Google “autobahn collision deer” for some interesting pictures, including some of a deer that was hit so hard it filled all the vacant space in the engine compartment of a BMW.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The article claims that three legislators are proposing 80 mph, while a fourth wants 85 mph.

    The limits in Wyoming and Idaho are now 80 mph. If they are going to increase in Montana, then I would bet that they will go to 80. Legislators are often OK with 5 mph bumps, but 10 mph increases rarely get approved.

    • 0 avatar
      Roader

      Utah too, on long stretches of I-15. You can make good time @ 80mph. 85 would be even better. Unfortunately, CO and NE are stuck @ 75 while idiotic Iowa and Illinois won’t let you go over 70. Pretty lame considering the vacant, flat nature of their interstates.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Isn’t stretches of I15 85 now? I could have sworn it was coming though there last summer. On a bike unable to take advantage of that difference, but still……..

      • 0 avatar
        ZT

        FWIW, the 70 MPH limit on Illinois highways is more of a suggestion than anything else. I drive I-57 from Chicago to Champaign several times a week and the speed of traffic is usually 75-85, with the occasional caravan passing by at 90-100. Cops seem to only post-up outside construction zones.

        • 0 avatar
          Roader

          I wish that were true on I-88 between Moline and Dekalb. Weekday/clear weather/no traffic and I usually encounter two cops working speed traps and making money. Flat and lonely and 70mph, it’s just stupid slow. Of course I got CO plates and I must be carrying a couple of pounds of pot…

          • 0 avatar
            WildcatMatt

            I-88 has _always_ been a speed trap. I remember my mom getting pulled over there when I was about four years old, back when it was signed as IL-5.

            The good news is, the cops usually sit at the same two speed traps which if memory serves are both on the “free” side of I-88 between Moline and the toll.

            In general in Illinois it’s understood that when you’re on the Tollway, you’re paying for the right to exceed the speed limit.

  • avatar
    dig

    As a former Montanan and hopefully a future one I can attest that 85+ is the proper speed for the interstate highways there. Even driving a pickup unless it is snowing. The problem is the secondary highways that people want to drive at 85. Not a good idea especially with large mammals all over the place.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      The mammals are less of a problem during the day than at night, or dusk. Back in the 90s, lots of riders, and drivers, would make pilgrimages to Montana for their less oppressive approach to most things, including speed limits. I don’t recall anyone ever tangling with mammals during daylight hours. And at nighttime, the enforcement was stricter anyway. As it ought to be.

      I’m kind of bummed out the zeal Montanans back then had for seceding seem to have waned. They’re generally much better at writing laws than people in the rest of the country, yet are still stuck abiding by nonsense cooked up by faraway yahoos.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Montana sets the speed limits on many 2 lane roads through mountainous regions at 75 mph, but you have to use your better judgement sometimes. I was driving on one such road doing the posted limit in the late afternoon (still very bright out) when I came around a bend and face to face with a large buck in the middle of the road. I was able to swerve to miss him, but after that, I took it down a few notches.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      The two lane roads could be a problem. Heading west from Billings on the interstate? 85 or 90 would be perfectly safe.

      On the two lane highways between Bridger and Laurel? You’d be suicidal. The speeds people go are about 70, which is the limit. My advice on that road- lay on the accelerator if you have to do do 70. If you’re slower than that, people get pass-happy and nearly cause accidents.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The scariest experience I’ve ever had driving was driving from Sandpoint, Idaho (awful place I’ll never ever return to) to Missoula during and shortly after dusk in a Ford Fusion rental. The road is Montana Highway 200, a very isolated and sparsely traveled two-lane with a 70 mph limit. It seemed like deer were jumping in front of the car every 500 feet. Driving at any speed over 50 was nerve-wracking because there wasn’t enough time to react to the deer, but driving slower was equally nerve-wracking because locals in giant lifted pickups would come flying up behind at 80+ mph, not caring about the paint scratches deer might cause to their cow bars.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Boy I wish they would raise the limit on the Trans-Canada across the prairies. 135 kph would certainly help to feel like progress is being made.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    85 is nice, but drivers should know the limits of their bald tires, rusty coolant, and dry trailer bearings before driving so fast.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Regarding the picture of Montana’s old speed limit signs: I’d be happy if a sign like that included “Towing – anybody, anytime, any # of axles — 65 mph”

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Thank you for this. The new generation of ridiculously powerful diesel pickups is encouraging lots of yokels to tow at 90 and 100 mph. The results are genuinely scary, given that trailer tires are rated to 55 mph and are usually old and neglected to boot.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I’ve driven in Montana and a daytime speed limit of 85 MPH on most sections of interstate is a no brainer. There are some spots in western Montana over the Rockies where 85 MPH would be borderline terrifying in the average minivan or pickup – but for wide stretches no issue.

    I would prefer to see a tiered speed limit with a lower speed at night. At 85 MPH you’re outrunning your headlights and can’t react to the deer, elk, moose, bear, steer…

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      In places where I have driven and the official speed limit was 75mph, most of the traffic flowed at 85mph.

      This includes the states of AZ, NM, TX, but going around the Great Salt Lake on I80, I flowed with the traffic at 105mph, for quite a while, until we caught up with some privately owned 18-wheelers that slowed things down to 85mph.

      Most Fleet 18-wheelers are governored down to 73mph, max. And it is there that the glut on I80 occurred, as the faster ones were passing the slower ones, blocking the left lane.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        It seems to me that there are two kinds of commercial rigs that work together to successfully hold up traffic on freeways:

        The ones that are governed to 67 but have enough horsepower to easily maintain it on a moderate incline. These ones are normally in the slow lane.

        The ones that are governed to 68 but have only enough horsepower to hold 66 on a moderate incline. These ones are normally in the fast lane. They are often piloted by operators who believe in the law of gross tonnage when making lane changes.

        I despise the second kind.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          JimC2, I agree. Back in June my oldest son and his former father-in-law rented two Ryder tractors to haul some cattle they had bought in Kansas and Texas back to New Mexico.

          My son doesn’t have a CDL (yet) so he asked me to drive one rig. We also had two Mexican nationals, his partner (the former father-in-law) had contracted with their personal rigs.

          The Mexicans’ rigs easily outran the Ryder tractors. No restraints! No governor. The more fuel injected, the faster they went.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      I remember renting a minivan and driving south on I-15. In the more mountainous roads, just trying to keep up with the posted 65mph was really pushing the cornering limits of our Windstar, tires squealing and all.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    They may have a limit now, but they aren’t too hard on you for breaking it.

    A few years ago I was headed North on I-15 outside of Great Falls. I was moving, over 100 mph for sure, when I crested a slight hill only to pass the only Sheriff I had encountered on the freeway in about 800 miles. He caught up and stopped me, then proceeded to chat me up noticing the plates from across the country. He then apologized for having to cite me for the speed and informed me that since I was from out of state, I’d have to pay on the spot. I began to wonder if I had enough money on me, because where I’m from, that kind of speed is an impound. That’ll be $40. Here’s your receipt, sir.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      What happens if you don’t have the cash? I hardly ever have $40 cash.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I imagine they take credit, I didn’t ask. If not, you go down to the court house.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          danio3834, yeah, that’s the way it is in Cuba, NM, if you get a ticket.

          You go down to the town’s municipal court house, adjacent to the police station, face the judge, get assessed the fine and if you don’t have the money on you, they’ll take a credit card, plus 2.5 percent fee over and above the fine and court costs.

          If your credit card is rejected or you don’t have any cash on you, you’ll be the guest of Cuba, NM, at $10 per day until your fine and court costs are paid in full; i.e. $100 fine at $10 a day equals ten days in the local lockup.

          But they do feed you three squares a day. Not fancy but you don’t go hungry.

          In 1995 my oldest son had the misfortune to get bagged by the local constable driving his little brown&white Ford Bronco just outside Cuba, for towing a trailer with a Formula V race car on it at 55mph, instead of the 45mph mandated, as they were coming back from the races in Colorado and on the downslope toward Cuba, NM. We have some real nice fotos taken of the incident by the chase car driver following him.

          Pretty hefty fine, too. I wired him $300 immediately so he would not have to spend the night there as a guest of the town.

          Watch out for speed traps in the Land of Enchantment! It is but one way we augment the budgets of our law enforcement agencies.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          danio3834, yeah, that’s the way it is in Cuba, NM, if you get a ticket.

          You go down to the town’s municipal court house, adjacent to the police station, face the judge, get assessed the fine and if you don’t have the money on you, they’ll take a credit card, plus 2.5 percent fee over and above the fine and court costs.

          If your credit card is rejected or you don’t have any cash on you, you’ll be the guest of Cuba, NM, at $10 per day until your fine and court costs are paid in full; i.e. $100 fine at $10 a day equals ten days in the local lockup.

          But they do feed you three squares a day. Not fancy but you don’t go hungry.

          In 1995 my oldest son had the misfortune to get bagged by the local constable driving his little brown&white Ford Bronco just outs!de Cuba, for towing a trailer with a Formula V race car on it at 55mph, instead of the 45mph mandated, as they were coming back from the races in Colorado and on the downslope toward Cuba, NM. We have some real nice fotos taken of the incident by the chase car driver following him.

          Pretty hefty fine, too. I wired him $300 immediately so he would not have to spend the night there as a guest of the town.

          Watch out for speed traps in the Land of Enchantment! It is but one way we augment the budgets of our law enforcement agencies.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            One of the very greatest things about The Great State of Maine is that local municipalities do not get one red cent of fine money – every cent goes to the state. Makes for quite even handed enforcement.

            Of course, to make up for it we have excise tax rates that would make King Midas blush.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            That’s funny!

            When my #2 son was with the California Highway Patrol after he left the Marine Corps, he would regale me with stories of how the courts would put pressure on the Brass to get the patrols to write more citations, so the courts could collect more revenue.

            They even had terms for it, like “mining the highways” (MTH) and “focking with the motorists” (FWTM).

            Now that my grandson’s wife has switched from the Sheriff’s Department to the California Highway Patrol, I am learning that nothing has changed.

            Maybe, more accurately, if things HAD ever changed, the more they stayed the same.

            The emphasis is still on raising revenue through stricter law enforcement. And the out-of-staters are such plump and easy low hanging fruit, ripe for the pickin’.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @HDC, around here for years and years the state patrol insisted that troopers did not have a quota of how many tickets they had to write. Then out of the blue they announced that they were eliminating the ticket quota (that didn’t exist) and replacing it with quota for the number of contacts (traffic stops) they had to make.

            Now of course once the economic melt down occurred ticketing went back up. It is very evident that they have a monthly ticket quota once again. The section of the the hwy near me has a couple of great spots to hide and take radar. Come the 27-31st they will out there working the area all day often 3 or 4 of them. Lately though there has been one trooper in particular in his grey unmarked Tahoe who is hanging out most of the day in one of the two best spots.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Hey Scoutdude, funny how that works out, eh? Makes me think the cops are just pulling a Gruber on us.

            My son loved his job with the Highway Patrol but his marriage was ailing and failing long before he left the Marine Corps. The demands of being a cop just made things even more edgy, especially during his time at the Academy. Bad part about getting a divorce in California, his ex-wife would have been getting a cut of his State retirement.

            As fate would have it, he got an offer from the DoD to go to work as a GS-11 at the MCRD in San Diego. The rest is history.

            He’s a GS-12 now, happily married to wifey #2 while his first wife just went through her second divorce. Also, his first wife is not entitled to a cut of his pension from his current job, and he can retire from Civil Service at age 55 because he gets full credit for the eight years he served as a Marine Corps Commissioned Officer.

            All’s well that ends well.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Nope – they don’t take credit cards, at least not in 2005. I did not have $40 on me… The nice lady trooper let me go, but she had the option to take me in to see a judge. But the judge was 150 miles away, and she thought I looked like a nice young man, so she wrote me a slip to mail in the cash. Which I did as soon as I got to an ATM and a post office in Malta. But if you look a little shady, you are going to get a potentially long ride in a cop car.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Reasonable should be a minimum of 65 instead of the old double nickle in many cases. I’m fine doing 75 across the Indiana toll road which I take at least once a week on business, although I don’t see doing anything above that. (Limit was finally raised to 70 a few years back) I’d rather eek some extra miles out of the fuel tank.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I totally support higher speed limits when it is safe to do so.

    Where I live in the Northern Territory in Australia there is a 130kph limit on the main highways. This speed is acceptable for most as your FE isn’t drained.

    Open speed limits are great…..except in areas like where I live and it can be a extremely long distance between service stations.

    When I live up here in the past the speed limit was open on the main highways. A change of government looking for cash reduced the limit and reduced road maintenance at the same time. As most would of guessed it was a left wing government.

    There is one section where they are trialling an open speed limit again. Which to me is a waste of time, because it was only an election ago they open speed limits were removed.

    High speeds don’t kill as many safety experts try to state. Here in Australia the do gooder socialists have a saying “speed kills”, this is a fallacy.

    What kills is the difference in speed.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Speed limits should be set by engineers who build roads and make the cars, not local politicians.

    The road section should be rated for a certain speed and that should be the limit, reduced for each vehicle to what the vehicle should be rated for.

    Then its a short jump to the cars being governed automatically; never exceed local optimum maximum speed.

    The roads could be dynamically adjusted, for weather and other conditions.

    All it would take is linking cell based emitters on the ground, or in space, to cars receivers.

    $100 per car sounds like a lot of budget for this.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      We have a couple of variable speed zones in WA on I5 in portions of Seattle and on I90 at Snoqualmie Pass.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      @ Johnny Ro:I hope it’s not the same engineers who design airbags, ignition switches, and floor mats.

    • 0 avatar
      OliverTwist

      ‘The roads could be dynamically adjusted, for weather and other conditions.’

      We have that here in Germany for many years. They usually show the white circle with four diagonial lines unless there’s heavy traffic conditions, accidents, lane closures, inclement weather conditions, etc.

      Look at the first photo in http://militaryingermany.com/great-autobahn

      • 0 avatar
        Roader

        Ditto I-70 in Vail, over Vail Pass, and as I recall through Silverthorne and up to the Eisenhower Tunnels. 65mph normally, it drops to 55 when the chain law is in effect.

  • avatar
    50merc

    When I was a kid in Kansas the limit was “reasonable and prudent”. The Kansas Turnpike opened with a speed limit of 80. No, it wasn’t a Golden Age. The problem then with 80-and-above speeds was that most cars had flabby suspensions, numb steering, underinflated tires, poorly maintained drivelines, weak brakes and drivers unprepared for emergencies. If you’ve never driven a typical old-school bargemobile, I invite you to take a ’53 De Soto or ’58 Buick across Kansas at 80 miles per hour. Until the first blowout, at least.

  • avatar

    I was there in 1998, driving from Seattle to Yellowstone park, at first, I did not understand what that sign mean, it sinks in pretty quickly and I was doing 100mph, the road was empty and I was covering 875 miles.

  • avatar
    OldWingGuy

    I got a ticket way back when this was going on. The officer said that seeing daylight under all four wheels when I crested a hill meant it wasn’t reasonable or prudent. I couldn’t really argue the point.
    You had to be careful when crossing into a neighbouring state. I once missed the Welcome to North Dakota sign. Cost me quite a bit. My bad.
    I would like to give the guy who wrecked this a smackin.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I crossed MT a few times in the days before, during and after the R&P era. Before the R&P speed law they were pretty lax in their enforcement and their fines. The state gov’t wasn’t to happy about the federal 55 MPH mandate and that sentiment persisted for many years. So there was a unwritten R&P law.

    The troopers would run along in the Left lane at about the posted limit. When you see one ahead you closing speed to say 5mph difference a bit back. The trooper will move to the right as you approach and then you pull along side and let him give you the once over and a nod. Pick you speed back up 5mph then once he is back a ways kick the speed back up to 80~85 or so.

    With the R&P the cops were running 85~90 and I did a lot of time with the cruise set at about 95mph, with some occasions of “bit” more.

    One of the times was in a car with an 85mph speedo. Luckily it had the cruise control that changes your speed about 1mph per tap on the button. So the routine was to get to 80mph and set the cruise. Once the speed has stabilized start giving it a few taps and then a few more and if you dare a few more after that. I always kept in mind how about how fast I was going.

    With the reintroduction of speed limits the cops were now parked and taking radar. Had I not had a radar detector I probably would have got popped a couple of times.

  • avatar
    cartunez

    Speed limit should be a min of 75 in most places.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I was in Montana in ’97 on a Yamaha YZF1000. 260kph top speed and 134 rear wheel horsepower.
    I crossed the border and took a picture of that big 4×8 “Reasonable and Prudent” sign.
    The next day I hit the road. It wasn’t long before I past a line of cars at 200 kph and climbing. Lead car was a state trooper without a light bar. My heart skipped a few beats as I went past. It seemed like an eternity waiting for lights and sirens. Nothing other than the sound of my pulse pounding in my ears. I kept peering into my mirrors and then I remembered that big sign. That was the best riding I ever had on a bike.

  • avatar
    motorrad

    I remember me and a buddy cruising on our BMW bikes back in 1998 doing about 100. We overtook a Montana state trooper and he just waved as we passed him. Good times.

  • avatar

    Meanwhile I’m sitting here in Oregon, stubborn home to the lowest speed limits west of the Mississippi River, capped at 65 mph for cars and 55 for trucks. The speed limit on I-84 on the other side of the Snake River in Idaho is 75 or at least it was the last time I crossed it nearly four years ago. Regardless, I distinctly remember cops camped out on the other side of the bridge in Oregon where the limit was 55 coming into the town of Ontario. They’d just sit there knocking off guys doing 80 like it was an Olympic event. I bet OSP is just foaming at the mouth with excitement over the idea of an 80 or 85 MPH limit just over the Snake. They might even try to see if they can get Montana to touch Oregon somehow…

    This state is run by bleeding morons.

    • 0 avatar
      jconli1

      BUT… I’ll give OR due respect for the fact that it’s the only state in the entire US where the signs simply say, “SPEED” and not “SPEED LIMIT”

      “SPEED” means that everyone is expected to do the posted speed, and rules out the self-appointed left-lane safety-justice types who insist that “limit” implies it’s reasonable to go 5-10mph under.

      When I first moved to Seattle, I was terrified by how much *under* the speed limit everyone drove on I-5, and how nasty the looks I received were when I passed someone at 5 over, which I was raised to understand as baseline survival speed on the DC Beltway.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “‘SPEED’ means that everyone is expected to do the posted speed, and rules out the self-appointed left-lane safety-justice types who insist that “limit” implies it’s reasonable to go 5-10mph under.”

        It doesn’t really mean anything. You’re reading too much into it.

        Every state has a basic speed law. One is not permitted to drive faster than is safe for conditions, even if that speed is at or below the posted speed limit. It is possible to receive a speeding ticket while driving under the limit.

        A few states, including Oregon, have some speed limits that are “prima facie.” Prima facie speed limits are not strict maximums — the speeds are presumed to be the maximum safe speed, but it is (theoretically) possible to prove to a court that driving in excess of that speed was safe at that point in time and therefore not illegal in that particular instance. However, that does not negate the basic speed law, which may call for speeds that are below the posted law.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Grew up in North Idaho but only had my license for maybe 2 years before Montana implemented the new limits. Never experienced the unlimited joy… Big part because my old Mazda 626 sucked above about 70 anyway.

    I agree with these changes. I live in Germany now and I would say 85-90 is my sorta comfort cruise speed. You feel like you’re making good time, but you’re not on edge. 100mph isn’t bad either but above that and you’re starting to move to super high alert mode, which gets very draining very quickly. And this is in an E90 3 series.

    With that said, I’m hoping this will bring back the reasonable and prudent days (or the same enforcement law that applies in bad weather, the too fast for conditions enforcement). The fact is there is such a wide range of driver ability and car ability and road surface conditions, there isn’t a one size fits all solution. If you want to do 65 in your 85 Suburban, cool, just keep right. If the guy in the 911 wants to do 120,cool, just don’t tailgate and pass on the left only.

    I find this far less objectionable than giving tickets (and raising insurance rates) for speeding to drivers who endanger nobody simply because they drive over some politically set number. A 911 is not a Tahoe, they shouldn’t be forced to use the same speed limit in a wide open rural area.

    I will add that Montana has 75 on interstates and 70 on 2 lane highways… Which I actually find 70 on these roads more than enough. Even in my GTI I often had to slow down. I found it odd the multi lane expressways were only 5mph faster.

    I seem to recall Montana also has a sorts unwritten rule that if you’re under 85 you won’t get stopped… But again, problem is you can’t know that and might get stopped at 80.

    So I like this step. 85 I like. And hopefully as this proves successful we can keep moving upwards. And when you can drive your desired speeds, I believe people will better heed the other limits thst actually make sense. I know in Germany when I see a 60 or 70 limit here, I know there is usually a reason, and I slow down. I think you might see better compliance elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar

      Speed limits in germany on the autobahn make sense. That is a sea change you need to get used to there. Also, once the novelty of free speed wears off, I found myself at 150 -170 kph. The work it takes to cruise at 130 mph is far more than the time gained. Also, this is a contest. There WILL be a faster car, oft a 911 or such. He DOES expect you to move over promptly. Flashing high beams are basically a middle finger.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    So I think I’m hot sh!t doing 90 in a Mustang GT conv on the LA to Vegas trip, and this Suburban passes me like I’m standing still! This was around Baker CA. So I catch it and tuck in behind as if to draft. He doesn’t mind so I stayed there for an hour at 105 mph, about 3 ft from his tow hitch. If he’s switching lanes, I’m switching lanes. We were making great time, and I was getting great mpg too, cons!dering. He slowed and got off, probably running low on fuel, but I made it there on a single tank. I just had to watch my temps and for overhead aircraft. But saved about 1.5 hours vs driving the limit.

  • avatar

    Having been fortunate enough to drive both Montana and Germany from one side to the other, I am always amazed WE don’t have the true high speed driving culture.

    Typical MT drive is a pickup at 90, or an older American sedan rolling along at 75-80. Cops do patrol, and I saw a few moving mode radar hits over very long distances-flat and line of sight, but before you could “make” the car.

    The cops and clerks apologize for the fine because there isn’t a lot of money in Montana. I’ve “yuppie” relatives in Bozeman and between the two they just break six figures. Montana Salary Shock is the way they describe it, and unless you move there as a retiree from a right or left coast civil service job, you are scraping.

    Still, from the top of a ridge, with only two feet of fresh powder dropping off below you for a few thousand feet, there is no place nicer on the planet…..

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    Does anyone here believe the tired old argument that no matter how high you set the speed limit, people will always drive 5-10 mph faster?

    Ohio recently raised its freeway speed limit to 70 mph, and the only difference I’ve noticed is that the slowest cars on the road have sped up (which is great). The faster drivers don’t seem to be going any faster.

    I’m guessing most folks in Montana won’t suddenly drive 95, either.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I feel like when it was 65, I drove 72. Now that it’s 70, I drive 76. There are people still doing 80, but that always feels risky, like some big red 8 on the trooper’s radar will make him angry and come get me.

      Edit: Also, I’ve been pulled over in both Indiana and Ohio, and only received tickets in Indiana.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Studies show consistently that speed limit changes have little impact on average travel speeds.

      The likely result of a 5 mph speed limit increase would be for compliance rates to improve, since those drivers who are driving between 76-80 mph would no longer be in violation of the law. If average travel speeds increased by much more than 1 mph, it would be surprising.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Idaho is trying to make sure this isn’t true, as I found out to my detriment last July. A state trooper got me for 89 in their new 80 zone on I-84, wrote me a ticket, and talked to me sternly just as if I had been doing 15+ over the limit.

      Most people were cruising between 78 and 83.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        dal20402, welcome to the new reality.

        California and New Mexico have been doing this to supplement their law enforcement budgets since fiscal austerity set it in 2009. Others have gotten tickets in Colorado going south on I-25 before they get to Trinidad. Yeah, speed traps everywhere.

        My father-in-law is currently in Southern Idaho and a state trooper pulled him over recently to tell him that my NM license plate on my Haulmark trailer could not be read because it was dangling s!deways. The bracket had broken off and the license plate was dangling in the wind, held on by the electrical wire for the lightbulb.

        He didn’t get a ticket but I think that is only because he and his wife are in their late eighties. Besides, my father-in-law fixed it on the spot with duct tape by taping the bracket back on to the fender of the trailer.

        Goes to show how petty they get when money is involved. I got a ticket once because one of my headlights broke a lens and the filament ins!de died, hit by gravel while on the road at night. Hell, it happened not five minutes earlier, just past Socorro where there was a lot of loose gravel on the road deck.

        Still, it cost me!

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        dal20402, welcome to the new reality.

        California and New Mexico have been doing this to supplement their law enforcement budgets since fiscal austerity set it in 2009. Others have gotten tickets in Colorado going south on I-25 before they get to Trinidad. Yeah, speed traps everywhere.

        My father-in-law is currently in Southern Idaho and a state trooper pulled him over recently to tell him that my NM license plate on my Haulmark trailer could not be read because it was dangling s!deways. The bracket had broken off and the license plate was dangling in the wind, held on by the electrical wire for the lightbulb.

        He didn’t get a ticket but I think that is only because he and his wife are in their late eighties. Bes!des, my father-in-law fixed it on the spot with duct tape by taping the bracket back on to the fender of the trailer.

        Goes to show how petty they get when money is involved. I got a ticket once because one of my headlights broke a lens and the filament ins!de died, hit by gravel while on the road at night. Hell, it happened not five minutes earlier, just past Socorro where there was a lot of loose gravel on the road deck.

        Still, it cost me!

    • 0 avatar
      WildcatMatt

      The thing is, at least where I am people tell me that Ohio state police are the strictest, and they do seem to patrol the OH Turnpike more than Indiana and Pennsylvania, so when I cross the border I knock it back to 75, which most other traffic seems to do.

  • avatar
    Avatar77

    I strongly urge against driving 85 MPH in a 1980 Ford LTD for any sustained period of time! If nothing else it will accelerate the rust.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Just got back from Italy. The speed limit on the A roads there is 130 km/h or 81 mph. And this is a small country with lots of small cars. Most drivers seemed to be going closer to 120 kph. Those with the BMWs, MBs and Audis liked to show off their ability to spend $8 per gallon for gas or $7.20 per gal diesel by going faster than 130. I was driving a Fiat Qubo 1.3L supercharged diesel five speed manual – not brown, but close to the TTAC ideal wagon. It had no trouble holding 130, but took a little time to get there. It also averaged 50 mpg on diesel for combined city/highway driving.
    The real fun was not on the A roads, but on the hairpins along the Amalfi coast. It was difficult to keep it in 3rd gear at 40 km/h on those hilly and twisty roads.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Amalfi coast is beautiful. I was on a bus back to the train station to head to Rome when a tiny Fiat smashed into the bus as it slid through a hairpin curve on the Amalfi coast. I’d love to go back.

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