House Bill No. 326
Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________
A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act allowing a board of county commissioners to establish urban transit zones that provide speed limits suitable for high-density commuter traffic on public roads in the county; providing for enforcement of speed limits in urban transit zones; establishing a fine schedule for violation of a speed limit in an urban transit zone; directing the money collected from fines to the county general fund; and amending sections 7-14-2113, 61-8-306, 61-8-309, 61-8-310, and 61-8-312, MCA."
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 7-14-2113, MCA, is amended to read:
"7-14-2113. County authority to establish speed limits. (1) A board of county commissioners may, by ordinance,
establish a special speed limit or an urban transit zone in accordance with 61-8-306 and 61-8-310
on any county road.
(2) Before establishing an urban transit zone, a board of county commissioners shall request the department of transportation to conduct an engineering and traffic study of the specific area. The department of transportation shall report to the commissioners its findings and speed limit recommendations."
Section 2. Section 61-8-306, MCA, is amended to read:
"61-8-306. Lower speed limits. Nothing in 61-8-304 through 61-8-307
shall prohibit prohibits any state, county,
municipal, or other local official, board, or body which that has authority to enact laws relating to motor vehicle speed
limits from establishing speed limits lower than that required by federal law on any public streets or highways as permitted
by law on March 2, 1974 those established in this part."
Section 3. Section 61-8-309, MCA, is amended to read:
"61-8-309. Establishment of special speed zones. (1) (a) If the department of transportation determines upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that a speed limit set by 61-8-303 is greater or less than is reasonable or safe under the conditions found to exist at an intersection, curve, dangerous location, or any other part of a highway under its jurisdiction, the commission may set a reasonable and safe special speed limit at that location.
If a A local authority requests may request the department of transportation to conduct an engineering and traffic
investigation based on:
(i) the belief that a speed limit on a highway under the department's jurisdiction is greater than is reasonable or safe
(ii) the establishment of an urban transit zone, as defined in 61-8-310
the commission may not increase the speed limit
under consideration as a result of the investigation.
(2) The department of transportation shall erect and maintain appropriate signs giving notice of these special limits. When they are erected, the limits are effective at that part of the road or the zone at all times or at other times that the commission sets.
(3) The authority of the commission under this section includes the authority to set reduced nighttime speed limits on curves and other dangerous locations. The commission may not increase the speed limit set by 61-8-303 as a result of the investigation conducted under subsection (1)(b).
(4) This section does not authorize the commission to set a statewide speed limit."
Section 4. Section 61-8-310, MCA, is amended to read:
"61-8-310. When local authorities may and shall alter limits -- urban transit zone -- definition. (1) As used in 7-14-2113, 61-8-309, and this section, "urban transit zone" means a public road on which a board of county commissioners sets speed limits suitable for high-density commuter traffic in the county. Any public road in the county may be included in an urban transit zone.
(1)(2) If a local authority in its jurisdiction determines on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that the speed
permitted under 61-8-303 and 61-8-309 through 61-8-313 is greater or less than is reasonable and safe under the conditions
found to exist upon a highway or part of a highway, the local authority may set a reasonable and safe limit that:
(a) decreases the limit at an intersection;
(b) increases the limit within an urban district, but not to more than 55 miles per hour during the nighttime;
(c) decreases the limit outside an urban district, but not to less than 15 miles per hour; or
(d) decreases the limit in an area near a school, a senior citizen center, as defined in 23-5-112, or a designated crosswalk, as crosswalk is defined in 61-1-209, that is close to a school or a senior citizen center to not less than 80%, rounded down to the nearest whole number evenly divisible by 5, of the limit that would be set on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation, but not less than 15 miles an hour. If warranted by an engineering and traffic investigation, a local authority may adopt variable speed limits to adapt to traffic conditions by time of day, provided that the variable limits comply with the provisions of 61-8-206.
(2)(3) Except when establishing an urban transit zone, a A board of county commissioners may set limits, as provided in
subsection (1)(c), without an engineering and traffic investigation on a county road, as defined in 60-1-103.
(4) (a) A board of county commissioners may establish an urban transit zone by setting speed limits suitable for high-density commuter traffic on any public road in the county.
(b) Before establishing an urban transit zone, a board of county commissioners shall request the department of transportation to conduct an engineering and traffic study of the specific area. The department of transportation shall report to the commissioners its findings and speed limit recommendations.
(c) County law enforcement officers shall enforce the speed limits in an urban transit zone.
(d) The board of county commissioners shall establish the fines for violation of the speed limit in an urban transit zone pursuant to the following schedule:
Miles per hour over urban transit Fine not to exceed
zone speed limit
5-10 mph $ 20
11-20 mph 100
21-30 mph 300
31 or more mph 500
(e) Money collected for violations of the speed limits in an urban transit zone must be deposited in the county's general fund and may be used for costs incurred in the administration of this subsection (4).
(3)(5) A local authority in its jurisdiction may determine the proper speed for all arterial streets and shall set a reasonable
and safe limit on arterial streets that may be greater or less than the speed permitted under 61-8-303 for an urban district. (4)(6) An altered limit established as authorized under this section is effective at all times or at other times determined by
the authority when appropriate signs giving notice of the altered limit are erected upon the highway. (5)(7) Except as provided in subsection (1)(d) (2)(d), the commission has exclusive jurisdiction to set special speed limits
on all federal-aid highways or extensions of federal-aid highways in all municipalities or urban areas. The commission shall
set these limits in accordance with 61-8-309."
Section 5. Section 61-8-312, MCA, is amended to read:
"61-8-312. Special speed limitations on trucks, truck tractors, motor-driven cycles, and vehicles towing housetrailers. Subject to 61-8-310, the following speed limits apply:
(1) A person may not operate a truck or truck tractor, the gross weight of which exceeds 8,000 pounds, at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour on those completed sections of interstate and four-lane divided highways and 60 miles per hour on those completed sections of primary and secondary highways. However, the truck nighttime speed limit may not exceed that of automobiles, as stated in 61-8-303.
(2) A person may not operate a vehicle subject to a term permit under 61-10-124(3)(d) or a truck-trailer-trailer or truck tractor-semitrailer-trailer-trailer combination of vehicles subject to special permits under 61-10-124(6) at a speed greater than 55 miles per hour.
(3) A person may not operate a motor-driven cycle at any time mentioned in 61-9-201 at a speed greater than 35 miles per hour unless the motor-driven cycle is equipped with a headlamp or lamps that are adequate to reveal a person or vehicle at a distance of 300 feet ahead.
(4) A person may not operate a vehicle that is towing a housetrailer at a speed greater than a maximum of 50 miles per hour."