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Cok Kinzler PLLP

How fast was the other guy going?

After having been in a car accident in Bozeman, your first concern (after seeing to the care of yourself and others involved, of course) is often focused on the conduct of the driver that caused the collision. Assigning liability in such a situation may be much easier if you are able to establish that he or she was driving recklessly. The easiest way to do this is typically determining whether the driver was speeding. This may seem simple given that speed limits are typically clearly posted, yet that is not always the case.

Should your accident occur at or near a speed limit sign, the responsible driver’s claim that he or she was not aware of what the limit was may be met with skepticism. What if, however, it happens on a stretch of roadway where the speed limit was not clearly marked? Montana’s Annotated Code establishes speed limits on roads even where one may not be posted.

According to state law, the implied speed limits for the following areas are as follows:

  •          Urban districts: 25 miles an hour
  •          Federal interstate highways (within urban areas): 65 miles an hour
  •          Federal interstate highways (outside of urban areas) 80 miles an hour
  •          Public highways: 70 miles an hour during the day, 65 miles an hour at night

For the purposes of this law, an urban area is considered to be one with a population greater than 50,000.

In situations where roadway conditions, adverse weather, reduced visibility or high traffic volumes warrant it, the law states that drivers should not exceed “careful and prudent” speed. Thus, when driving conditions are poor, you may be able to argue that the driver that caused your car accident was speeding even if he or she was not exceeding the posted speed limit. 

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