Question of the Week, Month, Whatever

Every so often I will post a new question here, give you some background info and ask you what you think of it, and then post your responses. I am not quite sure how often I will change the question, it may be weekly, monthly, or anywhere in between; it all depends on how many responses I get and how often I come up with a good question. Check back here every so often for a new question.

Back to Index

Jan. 6, 1996's Question

What do you think of Montana's New Lack of Speed Limit?

Background Information

Before the NMSL Montana had no official daytime speed limit. Instead it was a reasonable and proper limit. Basically if an officer felt like you were going to fast for conditions he would ticket you. Once the national 55 mph speed limit came about they came up with a $5, no point, energy waste speeding ticket for anyone who went above 55/65 mph speed limit, unless the officer thought you were truly driving at a reckless speed in which he will give you a $70 ticket. If you broke the 55/65 mph speed limit at night you would also get a $70 ticket. Now that the NMSL is gone they went back to there "reasonable and proper" limit and a nighttime limit of 55/65.

Things to Consider

Pages that might be Helpful

Others Input

From: Richard Rogers <>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 1996 21:43:37 GMT

Hey, the "reasonable and prudent" limit is a WONDERFUL idea.  Most
people drive at a reasonable and prudent speed anyway--be that 65
in the Charlotte area or 95 on rural interstates in Georgia.  I
think it especially makes sense in Montana.  Uniform speed limits
in many places, especially wide-open states like Montana, will
NEVER work.  What is reasonable and prudent for me, driving an
Acura with a 2500cc V6, would be absurd (and unreachable) for my
brother in his 1974 VW Beetle.  Montana's law recognizes that, and
considers the fact that there's nobody on the road out there 
anyway.  (In a crowded city such as Atlanta, I probably would
support a numerical limit, simply because of the congestion.)

There is only one problem with Montana's law: "reasonable and
prudent" is vague, and allowing the cop and the court to determine
what's reasonable and prudent is not the proper solution.  It lends
itself to abuses.  I read in the New York Times on December 8 that
most cops there feel that anything above 85 is deserving of a
ticket, but the quoted cop felt that up to 95 was OK for most cars.
This is absurd!  If I were to buy the NSX I was looking at the
other day (can't afford it, but it would be nice), why the heck
shouldn't I be allowed to fly at 130-140 if I choose--I probably
wouldn't since I think much over 100 FEELS too fast, but if I am
safely able to operate my car that fast, it is certainly neither
unreasonable nor imprudent to do so!

Basically, I think that Montana's lack of a limit is fine, but the
"reasonable and prudent" part falls under a well-known criminal law
doctrine known as "void for vagueness," which essentially provides
that if the law doesn't give you enough guidance on what to do, it
is void because it is too vague.  The "reasonable and prudent"
idea should be void for vagueness under this theory, and I would
hope that anyone who is ticketed in Montana on a clear, dry road
would raise it!  (One of the reasons for the void for vagueness
provision is that it is not right for the courts and the cops to
arbitrarily enforce the law, and that the law has to give them
sufficient guidance to enforce it.  I recently read a New Jersey
court opinion invoking this doctrine; I'll send you the name of
the case and the citation when I get a chance to go look it up!)

Date: Sat, 13 Jan 1996 23:10:58 GMT

Following up on my earlier post, the void for vagueness case I
was referring to is State v. Palendrano, 120 N.J.Super. 336, 293
A.2d 747 (1972).  This is a New Jersey case and it is not about
traffic laws, but the judge makes the following statement that is
very applicable to the "reasonable and prudent" provision:

"It is a basic principle of due process that an enactment is void
for vagueness if its prohibitions are not clearly defined.  Vague
laws offend several important values.  First, because we assume 
that man is free to steer between lawful and unlawful conduct, we
insist that laws give the person of ordinary intelligence a reason-
able opportunity to know what is prohibited, so that he may act
accordingly. ... Second, if arbitrary and discriminatory
enforcement is to be prevented, laws must provide explicit stan-
dards for those who apply them.  A vague law impermissibly 
delegates basic policy matters to policemen, judges, and juries for
resolution on an ad hoc and subjective basis, with the attendant
dangers of arbitrary and discriminatory application. ...."  (Note
that a New Jersey case is NOT binding on a Montana court; I cite
the case because it explains void for vagueness well.)

So it would seem that allowing the POLICE OFFICER to determine what
is "reasonable and prudent" is arbitrary, and I think it could
indeed be in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Pro-
tection Clause if different police officers favor different
readings of what "reasonable and prudent" is.

Unfortunately, the law (not the Montana speed law, I mean law in
general) also provides for constructive notice.  That is, if there
is precedent to illustrate what "reasonable and prudent" means,
and this precedent is a matter of public record, you are to be
PRESUMED to know what the standard is, and thus only the first
couple of people to be busted could plead void for vagueness, with
the exception that if the convictions on the books indicate a wide
disparity, you could still plead this.  I would think, too, that
you could legitimately argue before a judge that any PRE-NMSL
precedent should be set aside because of the huge advances in
automotive technology since then: what is "reasonable and prudent"
today was absurdly fast in many cars in 1973!

Unfortunate, indeed.  My point is NOT to attack the Montana speed
law, for as I said before I think it is a great idea.  I merely
think that as the law is constructed, there should be no speed at
which you can properly be ticketed in Montana during the day, and
that if you are ticketed it is a violation of your constitutional
right to due process and equal protection (constructive notice
notwithstanding).  Therefore, I think that Montana in effect is
allowing UNLIMITED speed, with "reasonable and prudent" being a
general point to urge you to use care.

I hope that everything I've just said doesn't strengthen the folks
out there (I think the governor is one) who want to enact a 
numeric limit.  If they DO enact one, I think it should be some
absurdly high figure that nobody will reach, say something like

DISCLAIMER: Nothing I say should be construed as binding upon a
 	    court.  ALWAYS conduct sufficient legal research in
	    your own jurisdiction to determine what the law there
	    is, what precedent exists, and whether your claim
	    has merit.  You can be sanctioned by the court for
	    bringing a meritless claim.

From: Ian C. Jirka <>
Date: Tue, 5 Nov 1996 19:20:05 -0500 (EST)

I must say I agree wholehartedly with the Montana idea.  As my way of
explaining why, I'll give you this anecdote:

I live in Ellensburg, WA.  It is a small city in a very rural area.
To get from Ellensburg to any other destination, you have two
options:  The scenic route, or the highway.  I prefer to take the
scenic route because the roads are more interesting and fewer people
drive them.

At this point, I feel I should mention that I *love* to drive.

One of these scenic routes, called 'canyon road', winds along a
river valley.  The posted speed limit there is 45, which I believe
is set way too low.  The majority of the traffic drives about 60
MPH, which puts you into the 'dangerous driver' and 'mandated
ticket' categories.  I got ticketed here recently for just that.
60 in a 45.

Granted, there are areas along this road where the posted limit is
prudent, and at those places people slow down.  Nobody wants to kill
themselves, after all.  So, you have a speed limit that applies
reasonably to two small parts of the road but is set much lower than
prevailing traffic.

Anyways, after being ticketed, I was a bit cowed.  I drove the rest
of the way at 50 (still 5 over), being passed constantly.  At that
speed I felt like I could get out and walk.  It was boring.  It had
completely  sapped any enjoyment I had gotten from driving the road.
And I came to realize that I was able to pay more attention to the
road while doing 60 than 50.  It takes me about a full second to
glance down at the speedo, register what it says, then glance up
and re-register objects on the road.  That, and my mind tends to
wander at lower speeds because not as much attention is required.

So for me, it's safer to travel at the speed I am most comfterable
at, and will naturally stay at, yet that same speed is illegal.

It is also frustrating when the speed limit applys day or night,
isuzu trooper or porche, rain or fair weather, race car driver
or sunday driver.  The law needs to take more into account.I hope
that will happen with the 'Reasonable & Prudent' Montana law.

Lets all hope the politicians will see the light and start working
with R&P/85th percentile style laws.

In that respect, I urge anyone reading this to take the time
to print out some of the articles on this page and send them to
your local politicos.  In most cases they hear mostly from
government and insurance agencies; they may not realize that counter
arguments exist!  Also don't forget to include this page.  It
shows them that there are many more out there who feel the same
way.  If they don't see votes being lost, they won't act.  I plan
to send out "packets" to as many politicos as I can shortly after
the elections.  Kind of a "what I expect as a constituant" deal.

From: Bob Morrow <>
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 1996 22:54:34 GMT

Reasonable and prudent is a fantastic idea.  This allows drivers to
make adjustments based on the condition of the road, weather, car, and
themselves.  To say that with a "R&P" limit everyone will go 100 is
absurd.  Montana never really had a speed limit even when they had one
(1974-1995) so the predictions of mass carnage and destruction at
every milepost are unfounded.

Speeds of up to 75-80 mph are often reasonable and prudent in Montana.
In some parts of the state, generally the eastern end, I would
consider anything under 95-100 to be okay, having traveled that fast
myself when I lived out there.  Heck, you're the only car on the road!

I really hope that there is not an increase in fatalities in Montana
for 1996 so they can say "I told you so" to the self-anointed safety
lobbies who whined like little children over the idea of letting
people actually decide for themselves what's okay and what's not.

In my 8 years out in MT, I -rarely- saw a car traveling over 75;
interstates or not. I don't forsee any change.

From: Bob N. <>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 1996 18:19:18 GMT

Here we have a great chance to see whether or not speed really kills,
as the naysayers have always said.  I hope somebody in Montana is
setting up some sort of tracking system to see if there is a
speed-accident correlation.  Who knows, perhaps we can make a case for
an autobahn type of road system here in America, where driver
training, skill, and courtesy is not what it is in Germany and other
countries with access to the autobahn.

From: Hiroshi Rains Proctor <>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 19:24:43 GMT

I think the lack of a speed limit is a great idea.  This argument I'm
sure all of you have heard, but it makes sense to consider it over and
over again -- who is in a better position to decide what speed you
should be driving down that highway today after work -- you behind the
wheel, or some politician, several hundred miles away, several years
ago, who may have never travelled on that particular highway before in
his life?

We'll see how this turns out.  If what I suspect is true, as long as
people drive responsibly and are respectful of lanes and each other's
rights, there will be a dramatic drop in the rate of accidents and 
fatalities over the course of the next year due to a smaller disparity
between the slowest (15th percentile) and fastest (85th percentile)

From: Alain <>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 1996 15:53:51 GMT

I drove through Montana and I agree the highways are mostly empty.
But I still wouldn't agree with the "no limit" policy.

What has been forgotten in all the posts I have read, is that a
highway was designed for a maximum speed. Visibility ahead,
curves, is a very important factor.

So it would actually make sense to let the engineers who designed
the road set the speed limit. They know what is going on, you
only see part of it.

PS: a lot of people mentionned highways in Germany. How many
actually drove there ? I did. The truth is, Germany is a mostly
city-area highways, so that all highways are always jammed. I
could never drive more than 80 mph on any highway. The other
thing is that most of the places have a speed limit of 75 mph
anyway. Only some portions of the highway don't have speed
limits at all.

Date: Thu, 18 Jan 1996 20:36:50 GMT

If the insurance/"safety" lobbies are right, Montana's interstates
will be bloodbaths.  If no bloodbath occurs, then the insurance/
"safety" lobbies are completely wrong and Montana is right.

No great length of time is required: the break from 55mph to no
speed limits is so large that even a few months will suffice as
a policy test.

Of course, one doesn't need "empty" highways to run a no speed
limits regime -- German autobahns are hardly lightly trafficked!

From: Sean Aron <>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 14:47:34 -0500 (EST)

I absolutely agree with this idea.  It is the most logical legislation
I have seen.

Arbitrary speed limits make no sense.  Recently I drove my Porsche
(which can slow from 70 to zero in 163 feet)from NYC to Montreal,
along I-87, where the speed limit was (at the time) 55.  Along the
way, cruising at a miserable 62mph (I have too many tickets) I was
passed by a triple trailer 18-wheeler.  Does anyone really think that
I was anywhere as dangerous as this truck?  Obviously not, yet I was
subject to the same archaic restrictions as s/he was.

Reasonable and prudent takes this into account.  The aforementioned
tractor could be ticketed for driving 50mph in the snow, which is very
treacherous, yet on a clear summer day someone like me sould legally
cruise at a reasonable 90-95 mph.  So long as the police are properly
trained, this can only work.

Sean Aron
New Orleans

Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 19:00:48 -0400 (EDT)
From: A Brit. living in Canada

14 of my 16 years driving experience have been in Europe. It is true
some people do drive regularly at 100+ on the Autobahns, but the
whole point is you're much more alert. It is very rare indeed to
see anyone pulling out in front of another vehicle.
My personal experience is that as long as your closing speed on
other vehicles isn't greater than 30mph or so you'll have no problem.
You wouldn't want to cruise at much more than a 100, but
having said that I feel short bursts of 140 + driving are fine
as long as there is no traffic !! and the road is suitable.
So will my 140mph bursts on an empty Montana highway land me
in trouble ? If there are literally no cars around I hope not.

From: Mike Cauley <>
Date: Sat, 13 Jan 1996 00:09:38 GMT

Having driven through Montana on numerous occasions I whole heartedly
agree with the current no speed limit law. I believe most states will
soon go this route as cars become safer. Our next step is to have
better driving schools and a mandatory skills test each time the
driver renews his/her license.

From: Ron <>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 1996 06:06:15 GMT

After driving to and from Montana 3 times from Michigan (to help round
up cattle at a friends ranch) I can say, in the "country" areas - you
could drive 100 and no one would mind.  The roads are so unpopulated
that people actually wave at each other when you pass someone going
the opposite direction.  I think it means "Yup - there is still life
out here, and have a good day!"  The biggest problem would be striking
an animal at a high speed and getting it through the windshield -OW!
Bambi Pizza.

From: Larry Gold <>
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 1996 13:21:59 GMT

The "no speed limit" would work well in the western states of Utah,
Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming and portions
of Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California and Oklahoma.  I travel on
the road about 44 weeks each year.  Many of the highway and all of the
interstates were designed for speeds of 10 to 20 MPH than they are
currently posted.  Most accidents are not caused by speed, but by
carelessness, not paying attention, or alcohol/drug related.  I
personally drive at speeds from 70-85 MPH on the road and have a good
driving record.  The most important advice I can offer is to always
anticipate the other drivers actions and always pay 100% attention to
the road ahead of you.  The rest will fall into place.  

From: Jared Vella <>
Date: Wed, 7 Feb 1996 01:45:59 GMT

I think that there should be higher speed limits in all states.  I
travel alot myself and love to cruise at around 90 mph as long as
there is no other traffic within a mile or so.  55 to 65 miles per
hour is just too slow to drive on an interstate.  As far as Montana
goes, I think people are too worried about the negative side of no
speed limit.  You don't hear about a flock of Lamborghinis going there
just to see if they will really go 202 mph do you?  No.  Bottom
line--Speed limits should be raised and lowered according to the
congestion of the area that the road travels through.  That way, in a
city, a motorist will get a ticket for doing an irresponsibly high
speed, not on an open highway with no danger of hurting anyone but
themselves.  Thanks.

From: Scott D. Nelson <>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996 19:46:17 GMT

I agree with Montana's limit repeal, as it it a vast and open state.
However, the nightime limit is a little low.  I would say 75 mph
would be a more realistic proposition.  I guess I'll have to wait
before I say too much, as the "data isn't all in yet."  But, what
works in Montana definitely work everywhere, such as my home state of many idiots here and the roads are not in such 
wonderful shape--albeit limits are still vastly underposted.
Another consideration here:  what is "reasonable and prudent" to cops,
judges, and magistrates may not equal "reasonable and prudent" in the
eyes of many drivers.  The law seems suspiciously ambiguous, but
legally, this may be to your advantage.

From: Brad Cuppy <>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 1996 03:47:57 GMT

With no limit in Montana, it shows that people are competent at
making good judgements on what is a reasonable speed instead of
the government having the attitude that people are idiots and
are incapable of making good judgements.

Unofficially, Montana had no limit during the NMSL since most
people knew the penalty for exceeding 65/55 was not even a 
slap on the hand.

Montana would make a good model as to the people are capable of
making better decisions than the bureaucrats in Helena or
Wasington DC.

Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 21:56:09 GMT

I think it's a great idea.  I'm a complete advocate of the 85th
percentile law, and think that most speed limits are asinine.  
As long as people respect the lack of a limit, and as long as the
officers respect people's different definitions of "safe" as long
as these definitions are reasonable, I see absolutely no reason
why any state with highways (read: long and open) like Montana, 
couldn't have the same set-up.

So, to restate my opinion:

Is Montana's new lack of a speed limit a good idea?  HELL YES!

Power to the (resonable) poeple....

From: Jeff Guida <>
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 1996 20:38:54 GMT

The elimination of the NMSL was a day of shock, disbelief, and
celebration for myself and many of my friends.  I'm enthralled that
states such as Montana will finally be permitted to set their own
appropriate limits.

I think that Montana's now non-existent speed-limit is, ideally, an
excellent idea.  In the right vehicle and on the right road (pref-
erably an interstate, fenced to eliminate the possibility of the
errant roaming mammal), I feel perfectly safe driving 130-140 mph
(yes, I have done this) and am glad that the law somewhere permits
(albeit somewhat vaguely) this driving behavior.  However,
realistically I cannot say that I believe that American drivers are
ready for this kind of freedom.  Driving safely at very high speeds on
public roads requires an extremely capable vehicle and an equally
capable driver.  More importantly, it requires a total absence of
other drivers unless they are totally familiar with the rules of high
speed, multi-lane travel.  I don't think that the majority of American
drivers posess the vehicle and skill necessary to drive at high speeds
safely.  Additionally, I don't believe that the majority have the
skill and experience necessary for them to drive on the same roads as
other drivers who are traveling at very high speeds.
I, myself, do not feel comfortable passing any other drivers on the 
road while traveling any more than 20 or 30 mph faster than they
are.  Very often they will be driving in the left lane, oblivious
to my approach.  I have absolutely no confidence that the other 
driver will not change lanes abruptly into my path.  Honestly, how
many American drivers are expecting cars going TWICE their speed to
be passing them.  They may look in their mirror briefly (if they
look in their mirror at all), think I'm very far away, and then, a 
few seconds later, pull into my lane, unaware that I am RIGHT ON 
THEM.  It's happened to me, and the results were not pretty!

The U.S. is half-ready for very-high and perhaps non-existent speed
speed limits;  our roads, especially our interstates, are fantastic.
Our drivers, unfortunately, are not.  The level of driving education
that most American drivers have had is far below adequate.  In order
to ensure safe high-speed travel in this country, all drivers must
be taught the basics of high-speed vehicle control (cornering and
braking at the limit, skid control, etc...) and be required to 
demonstrate them in order to get a license.  It is WAY too easy to 
get a license in this country.  Just as an example, in MD, in order
to get a drivers license you must demonstrate the ability to stop,
go, make a three point turn, and parallel park - all without ever 
leaving the parking lot at the MVA and all without ever driving
faster than about 4 MPH!!!  Hardly ensuring that MD drivers have the
skills to drive at over 100 mph, or for that matter, even at 65.   

In summary, I am very much in favor of high speed limits or none at
all. However, I don't feel that all U.S. drivers are prepared for
driving on roads where they or other drivers could be traveling
at well over 100 mph.  Until ALL drivers are taught proper driving
skills and proper driving rules (i.e. staying to the right and 
moving over for drivers coming up behind you) I won't feel
comfortable driving at very high speeds with them.

From: Chris Melancon <>
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 10:30:45 GMT

Having several hundred hours of interstate driving experience in a
mid-performance vehicle (Honda CRX) and also in a no-performance
vehicle (Suzuki Samurai-"deathtrap" to "safety" groups but I found
completely safe when handled alertly and with attention to

I find that the "reasonable and prudent" type of speed limit is
an almost Utopian situation.  While it is an agreeably pleasant
option, it is nigh impossible at least with some of the people on
the roads today.  

When needs indicate and conditions permit, 80,85, or even 90 mph is
a completely safe speed in most modern vehicles.  This is especially
true in wide stretches of interstate with few other vehicles around.
However, this is counteracted, at least in my case (a poor college
student who needs to stretch gas dollars) by the reasoning that my
car gets far better gas mileage at 65 than at 70 or 80, and the
approach of leaving earlier than necessary for routine trips like
home to school to permit driving at more economical speeds.

In Louisiana drivers are poorly educated, the DMV test I went through
was to drive around the block, and that only because I was
sixteen. Adults getting a license for the first time may only get a
"You know how to drive, don't you?" and no skill test at all. People
regularly drive 55 mph in the left lane of interstate, or worse yet 55
mph side by side with another vehicle.  Far too many people drive
inattentively and irresponsibly, neglect turn signals, brake for
absolutely no reason, or other such things. People need to remember
that driving is a *PRIVILEGE* and not a right.  Drivers should pay
more attention to not only their own driving, but those around them as
well.  As my father told me in my first days of driving, "You have to
drive alertly and expect the people around you to do what you don't
expect [in Louisiana this can be amended to the most ignorant thing
possible]". Younger drivers often drive excessively fast for no reason
(Yes I went through this phase).  Older drivers, while criticized for
driving excessively slow, are usually correct in doing so in
compensation for their slower reaction times and predominantly older
cars. However they should also keep in mind that if they are driving
slow, to keep out of other drivers way when doing so and to expect
other people to drive faster than them.

A driver knows his car like no one else-- no police officer or 
government official can say that driving a certain speed is reckless
or dangerous driving for everyone.  Just because my car handles
quite well at 120 does not mean that I will always drive that fast.
In fact after determining that a trip that takes half a tank of 
gas at 80 mph takes a full tank at 105-110 on the return trip, I
hardly ever exceed 80.  And just the same, when I drove the Samurai
I knew that it was unreasonable to expect it to take anything but 
the shallowest turn at its top (downhill with a tailwind) speed of
82 mph. If people would drive with respect to the conditions of
the road, the capabilities of their vehicles, and the actions of
other drivers around them, we would have far fewer unneeded traffic
accidents and the deaths that too often result. The way for this
to happen, however, is not to enforce an arbitrary speed limit on
open highways.  The way for this to happen is to require a higher
level of driver training and competence to obtain the driving 
privilege. This is the root source of most traffic problems, IMHO.
Turning a sixteen-year-old loose with minimal training and the keys
to Dad's Corvette will most likely end up the worst possible way.
The roads of America should not be a place to learn what wasn't 
taught in Driver's Ed.  Drivers should be sent to the road only
after learning what they need to know to be competent and safe at
highway speeds among other competent drivers.

Perhaps the idea that I have seen proposed about a special license
permitting high-speed travel for those that are qualified is a 
reasonable solution. Enforcing this would be problematic, however,
unless this license provided access to an autobahn-type highway
system similar to present interstates but without unqualified
drivers. This would be a complex and prohibitively expensive 
option, however. The only reasonable solution to this problem is
to promote driver awareness, training, and consideration for other
drivers and safety. Until each and every person with a driver's
license has a safe, functional car and the knowledge and skill to
operate that car responsibly and in a way that is not hazardous
to other drivers, and state and local agencies are weaned off of
traffic tickets as a primary source of income, we will not have
a reasonable method of regulating travel on our highways.

Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 10:33:47 GMT

I have a possible Question of the Whatever:

What can be done to promote skill, awareness, and responsibility
in the average driver (i.e. better driver training, more requirements
for getting a driver's license, etc.)?

From: Pat Miller <>
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 1996 20:49:04 GMT

I think that Montana's speed limit is probably the best choice. Sure
you may have those people that will try and max out their speed,
however it is far better than some of the other options.
Some of the other options include:

* Set speed limit that is high... Someone will say I am supposed to go
  this speed (even if it is unsafe)

* Set speed limit that is low... People are going to exceed it because
  the conditions permit, however they could be ticketed for driving
  perfectly safe, and efficient. You have a person who rather than paying
  attention to driving is looking out for the police, and is reacting
  strange (esp. if they see or think they see a police officer.)

From: Steve Walker <>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996 19:16:17 GMT

I totally support the idea.  I believe that the accident rate
will fall, since drivers will pay more attention to driving than 
looking out for cops.  I recently returned from Germany, and it 
was truely wonderful to travel the Autoban at a speed of my choosing
and pay complete attention to other traffic.  The speed differential
was not a problem on the Autoban.  I wish all states would adopt
this policy.

From: James Matthew Mullins, Jr. <>
Date: Sat, 13 Jan 1996 01:30:44 GMT

I would have to say that having no speed limit whatsoever is just
fine for Montana. It now allows people to concentrate on their
driving rather than their RADAR detector or that car way up ahead
(like a cop was ever a problem in Montana during the NMSL). I
support speed limits set according to the 85th percentile speed.
Speed limits should be set on almost all roads, unless the 85th
percentile speed for a certain vehicle classification during a
certain time period is above 80. Then, places should adopt a
Montana-style "reasonable and prudent limit. We must now put an
emphasis on vehicle conditions now that incredibly low speed limits
and massive speedtraps are being ended. Just recently West Virginia
staged a massive crackdown on vehicle inspection stations that don't
do proper brake inspections. we require an annual vehicle safety

From: Michael Angelo Ravera <>
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 1996 00:04:24 GMT

I am highly in favor of Reasonable and Prudent speed limits in 
general and in desolate areas in particular. I am doing what I can 
to get them adopted in California. I would like to see all of the 
white "Speed Limit" and "Maximum Speed" signs replaced with yellow 
advisory signs (the kind that you see right before curves and the 
like). My proposal would set rural maximum speeds to 130 km/h 
(81 MPH) and remove the maximum speed on "desolate roads" and place 
yellow 130 km/h advisory signs on these roads. A Montana / Nevada 
style law would be nice, but in town and between towns that are 
close together, as we have in major portions of California, I am 
willing to accept a numerical maximum.

If anyone wishes a copy of my proposal, please request one my 

From: Glenn Turner (Columbus, Ohio) <>
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 1996 14:39:49 GMT

I'd like to see Montana's "reasonable and proper" speed limit
implemented on limited access rural highways here in Ohio.  Our
current speed limit of 65/55 is not reasonable on roads constructed to
handle much higher speeds.  I am a claims manager for an insurance
company, and have been in claims adjusting for 10 years.  The current
system only gives the insurance companies an excuse for rating up
otherwise safe drivers who were exceeding the interstate limit, but
clearly were still operating in a safe and prudent manner.  The vast
majority of our losses aren't caused by "speed".  Usually, its
negligence by failure to yield, assured clear distance ahead, or some
other stupid act (making a left turn from the right lane...etc...)
that is causing accidents.  Given the proper sight distance and road
conditions, one CAN safely drive far in excess of 65 mph.  Lets have
the Montana experiment spread! (on rural interstates)

From: Kurt Toebben <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 17:44:44 GMT

Sounds reasonable to me, so long as pinheads don't ruin it by 
killing themselves and others.  Other states could take the hint
from Montana and adjust or eliminate rates on a road-by-road basis.
I keep hearing the argument that speeds need to be uniformly set
on all roads of a type (interstate, US, state) but I don't think
it's unreasonable to ask folks to pay attention because the limits 
might be different from road to road. Any decent paved road could
theoretically have its limits lifted as Montana has done.

From: Mike O'Brien <BOPM@AOL.COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 04:05:34 GMT

I support Montana's return to personal responsibility.  It's about
time that "Big Brother" started retreating from our lives.  A national
speed limit made little sense considering the varied geography of our
great country.  Driving safely is a matter of personal responsibility.

From: mark <>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 22:20:38 GMT

With Montana's vast open spaces there is no problem with eliminating
the speed limit when out of congested areas.  Night time is a
different story beacuse of the inadequate lights on cars today.

From: Tim Benoit <>
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 1996 19:05:54 GMT

I feel, without a doubt that Montana did the right thing by 
eliminating their highway speed limit.  The traffic flow on the
majority of their highways is extremely light.  If there isn't any
traffic to contend with then there is no reason why a driver should
not be able to go as fast as he or she is comfortable with.  Germany
has proved to the world that a strech of road does not need a speed 
limit to be safe.

From: (Mr) Marian Popescu <>
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 1996 22:12:11 GMT

I've been telling my frieds that I want to live in Montana since my 
freshman year.  Now I have another reason to go besides scenery and 
skiing.  Sometimes when I ride my motorcycle and I get to a long,
flat stretch of road, I like to see what the darn thing is made of.
I'm not unsafe, and I won't open her up if there are cars in front of
me.  Sometimes I feel like cruising at 90, and the bike is very
comfortable and stable at that speed, and I can't do that in PA.

From: Alex Long <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 22:05:18 GMT

When can I get out there??
Why don't they make it mandatory to turn headlights on, even in the day.
That way you can see oncoming cars well before you normally could.
This will be especially usefull with the faster closing distances.

From: jason <>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 22:27:11 GMT

I am all for Montana's traffic laws. It reflects a great level of
trust and respect for the driver.
At the same time, basic drivers education is not enough to keep our 16
year old, new drivers safe.

From: Tyson Sherman <>
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 1996 01:38:47 GMT

Although I have never been to Montana, if it is as desolate
as I have heard, surely going 70 or 75 will not hurt anyone.

From: Tom <>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 1996 03:34:07 GMT

I can't wait till summer.  I want to see what it is like to go a safe
speed legally.

From: Todd G. Westlie <>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 1996 22:49:14 GMT

I live in Missoula, MT and traffic here has picked up a bit although
not, to the chagrin of the national media, to point forecast by said
doomsayers. A friend of mine is a MPH officer and he has found the
same thing I have--people are going a little faster, but not too much
so. I guess it remains to be seen what the "turistas" do when summer
returns. My guess is that if you have an out-of-state plate and you're
flaunting it, you're toast! Oh yeah, our esteemed attorney general,
Joe Mazurek, has resurrected an old safety-nazi saw, "SPEED KILLS" in
a radio commercial run on local stations.  I wrote him and reamed him
good! Told him to check his facts before running off at the mouth. It
isn't speed, it's crappy drivers!  Maybe some day, huh? Adios


Almost forget--"Reasonable and Prudent" forever. I love it!

Your Input

I am still excepting responses even though it is no longer the current question.
So what do you think?

With no email address I have no way of getting back to you if there is a problem with your post

Back to Index | Back Home | Start