Montana has taken a significant step towards enhancing road safety with the introduction of the new "Move Over Montana" law, effective as of October 1, 2023.

This legislation is designed to protect the lives of emergency responders and maintenance workers by ensuring that drivers approach stationary emergency, towing, maintenance, or construction vehicles with caution and due consideration.

Here's what you need to know about the "Move Over Montana" law:

1. Slowing Down Near Special Vehicles: When approaching stationary emergency, towing, maintenance, or construction vehicles, drivers must slow down to the temporary posted speed limit, if available.

2. No Temporary Speed Limit: If there's no temporary speed limit posted, drivers are required to slow down by 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit on the interstate and move to the farther lane if possible.

If changing lanes isn't feasible, slow down to half the posted speed limit.

3. State Highways and Country Roads: On state highways or country roads without temporary posted speed limits, drivers must reduce their speed by 30 miles per hour below the posted speed limit and change lanes or slow down to half the posted speed limit if they cannot change lanes safely.

4. Other Roads: On roads that are neither interstate nor state highways nor country roads, drivers must travel at half the posted speed limit when passing these special stationary vehicles on the side of the road.

5. Multi-Lane Highways: On multi-lane highways, drivers must either move to a lane not adjacent to the stationary authorized vehicle or move over as far as possible while ensuring safety, considering the road's conditions.

Failure to adhere to this law constitutes reckless endangerment of personnel, as emphasized by the Musselshell County Sheriff's Office.

Penalties for Non-Compliance:

  • The maximum fine for disobeying this law is $10,000.
  • The maximum penalty includes imprisonment for up to one year.
  • For reckless endangerment of emergency personnel under this law:
    • First conviction: Imprisonment for up to 90 days, a fine of $100 to $500, or both.
    • Second or subsequent conviction: Imprisonment for a minimum of 10 days to a maximum of 6 months, a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000, or both.

It's essential to note that tow trucks are not exempt from this law, and all drivers must adhere to these regulations to ensure the safety of everyone on Montana's roads.

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