Speed Limit Increases in Montana, OK, AR

A while back, we posted a guide to general maximum speed limits applicable to RVs here. As laws are constantly changing, we periodically have to make changes. Here are a few from the beginning of 2019. As has been the trend for more than 20 years, they’re all increases.

Montana Speed Limits Now 70 for Trucks

This week, Montana passed legislation that will increase the truck speed limit on interstate highways from 65 to 70 mph, and from 60 to 65 on non-interstate public highways.

Montana was once famous for its “reasonable and prudent” speed limit signs, in effect prior to 1974 and again from December 1995 until December 1998. After “reasonable and prudent” was ruled unconstitutionally vague, there was no speed standard until May of 1999. During all of that, however, the nighttime speed limit and speed limit for trucks remained stuck at 65–where it had been since 1987. For the first time since 1987, trucks can legally drive 70 mph, day or night.

Of the states expected to consider speed limit increases this year, Montana hadn’t gotten much attention. The bill passed the House 71-28, and 41-9 in the Senate, and was signed into law by the governor on May 10th.

Oklahoma Speed Limits as High as 80

This follows the signing of Oklahoma’s HB 1071 in April, which allows speed limits to be raised from 75 to 80 mph on turnpikes, and from 70 to 75 on rural segments of the interstate highway system. Like Montana’s legislation, the votes for passage were overwhelming: 82-12 in the House, and 27-16 in the Senate.

Montana and Oklahoma are among several states that also limit penalties for minor speeding. In both cases, speeding 1-10 mph over the limit is not assessed points or recorded on your driving record. Montana’s tolerance is reduced to 5 mph at nighttime. Ten over in Montana will result in a $40 fine; in Oklahoma the fine is$5. Be careful though–fines increase quickly, and may carry points toward suspending your driver’s license and/or result in insurance rate hikes.

Arkansas Makes 75 Default

Oklahoma and Montana acted on the heels of Arkansas, which ended March with the signing of HB1631, which sets the default speed limit for all non-commercial vehicles at 75 on rural interstate highways.

Pending and Failed Legislation

Other states have legislation to raise speed limits currently pending:

• California’s bill would raise speed limits for all vehicles with three axles or more, and vehicles towing, from 55 to 65 mph in rural areas.
• Missouri’s House Bill 295 would increase the speed limits for all vehicles on rural interstate highways from 70 to 75 mph.

While two others had legislation introduced, legislative sessions ended without passage:

• North Dakota House Bill 1264 would have raised the speed limit from 75 mph to 80 mph on interstate highways, and from 70 to 75 mph on divided multi-lane highways. This bill was the subject of an entertaining debate, and failed on a tie vote. Watch the video in full for some lively discussion and some good laughs. At 80 mph, North Dakota would have had the same speed limits as neighbors South Dakota and Montana.
• Indiana’s House Bill 1092 would eliminate the 5 mph differential speed limit for vehicles with declared gross weights over 26,000 lbs, allowing travel at 70 mph for all vehicles.
• Iowa’s SF 26 would have increased the speed limit for all vehicles from 70 to 75, matching its neighbors Kansas and Nebraska to the west, but lower than its South Dakota neighbor.