Speed limits on rural interstate highways in Montana will increase to 80 mph this fall, but the cost of a speeding ticket will go up, too.
Gov. Steve Bullock signed Senate Bill 375 on Monday. The new law will increase speed limits from 75 mph to 80 mph on interstate segments outside areas with 50,000 or more people and where the Department of Transportation deems it safe.
“I think the highways are built for a higher speed,” bill sponsor Sen. Scott Sales, R-Bozeman, said when introducing the bill in March. “I think we can safely drive five miles an hour more effectively and save some people time if they choose to.”
Fines for exceeding speed limits will also be raised under the new law and are expected to accrue an additional $95,000 in state revenue every year.
Speeding ticket costs are based on how many miles over the speed limit an offender travels and will, under the new law, be higher on federal interstate highways than state public highways.
A driver found traveling 81 mph to 90 mph on an interstate would be fined $40. Tickets would total $70 for traveling 91-100 mph, $120 for traveling 101-110 mph and $200 for traveling 111 mph or faster.
The law will take effect Oct. 1, after the summer driving season.
Three other proposals to raise highway speed limits died this session after the Montana Highway Patrol spoke against those bills. The patrol favored SB375, which was the only proposal to include increased fines.
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