Montana is looking at the possibility of raising its daytime interstate speed limit to 85 MPH

Sounds like fun.

We recently had the speed limit raised in northern Maine from 65 mph to 75 mph. When I drive in northern Maine at 75 mph, I am driving faster then most of the cars on the road. If they raise the speed limit to 85 mph, there will be a vast majority of the cars running at much lower speeds creating a bigger speed differential. IMHO, it will not be as safe regardless of how good the roads are.

@dagosa Maine is not discussing raising its speed limit to 85, so that’s a moot point. Maine is one of two states I’ve never been in, but I’m sure it is vastly different driving there than in the wide open spaces and sparsely populated areas of Montana with nearly unlimited visibility. The last time I was there, the limit was 75, and we were being passed by nearly all the locals until we pepped it up to 80 and sometimes more. (V-8 Taurus SHO with Z rated tires) .

@MGMCAnick Three things.

First, the interstate in northern Maine is as sparsely populated as any state in the union in that area . So, you need not comment on Maine if you haven’t been there. Check the population. The interstate goes for many miles, absolutely straight and with little traffic.

Secondly, I brought it up to illustrate that many vehicles will not travel anywhere nearly 85 mph as there will be incapable of doing so. It may seem inconsequential to you but as the speed increases, the speed differential does significantly too.

Thirdly, I don’t give a rats behind wth they do. I have no sympathy for the people who allow the legislation to go through made by idiots who really don’t look at all the consequences. They will find out over time. We have a similar situation here where they raised the speed limit to 65 mph on a stretch of road without doing more research. When I used it daily, it was 55 and once a week or so, like clock work, someone would spin out of control when they hit the over pass where the black ice occurred. It was bad enough when the accidents were at 55. Now they will be much worse at 65 to 70. Montana gets no snow or wind blown drifts across the roads I suppose and ice when the snow melts and re freezes ?

I would imagine that many people who want to drive 85 across Montana always have and always will drive 85 no matter what the state statute is.

Me; I’d probably be on the back roads doing 55 and wandering around. It’s a large beautiful country and my preference is to always take it easy and soak in as much as possible; stopping and visiting obscure and unknown sites no matter where they may be.

Where its straight and level and several hundred miles between population centers, I can see it helping to deter boredom on the road. We were sold a bill of goods that increased speeds meant increased danger and accidents, and it just isn’t so. South Dakota is already 75 but you could go 90 east to west no problem safety wise. I wouldn’t drive that fast though because I think its too hard on the car.

I think there is a difference between states that are snow free and those that aren’t .

I have no sympathy for the people who allow the legislation to go through made by idiots who really don't look at all the consequences.
Whoa. Wait.

@dagosa, I could’ve sworn the last time we discussed a contentious issue, I made note of the fact that you exhibited “optimism, bordering on naivete” W/R/T legislators and their motives. I wondered, aloud, how you could be ex-cop and not be more cynical than that.

But now with this thread…and thinking back to many other posts you’ve made…it’s clear that you’re only SELECTIVELY “optimistic, bordering…” When any of your “hot button” issues gets pushed, your opponents can do no right, are hoplessly corrupt in all ways (and probably growl at the wife and kick puppies for fun, too!)

What should we make of this odd dichotomy…because from casual observation, you look like a cheerleader. I certainly wouldn’t want to think that of you–one of the “Sayin’ Hooray for our Side” gang–so I’m giving you an open opportunity to explain this.

Granted, you call me “meany,” (only partially from my screen name, I’m guessing), but at least I’m a consistent misanthrope, across the board: humans, regardless of cause or affiliation, have an innate corrupting flaw in their casting, one that is magnified with increasing levels of authority…and the only way to partially trust one another’s motives is to always keep a suspicious eye on ALL other humans, be it singularly or organized in groups.

They did something similar in BC recently, supposedly after a thorough review of all of the conditions on certain roads. I was gob-smacked when I recently drove the Sea-to-Sky highway between Vancouver and Whistler. Portions are now posted at 100km/h, up from 90 (roughly 63 mph up from 55). Doesn’t sound like much? This highway is a hilly, winding road through the mountains. Any buffer that was built in for cornering speeds is gone now. All the people who frequently drive at 20 km/h over the limit (unwritten rule of thumb around here), now have potential head-on collisions with another car also doing 120. The turns are tight, I could feel a lot more g-force on the tires. Even hitting a bump through the corner made the car jump sideways just that little bit. There will be more deaths.

And I can’t wait to see how many more people blow up their engines on the Coquihalla…


There are two aspects to safety. Everyone thinks about the possibility of getting into an accident, but few seem to think about the possibility of injury or death. If you get into an accident at 85 MPH, you are dead.

I am thinking about resurrecting my 1947 Pontiac and driving through Montana. However, my Pontiac had the inline 6_cylinder engine and had a top speed of 72_mph
If I can get a straight 8 engine from a 1948 Pontiac installed, would I be able to keep up with Montana traffic?
I’ve been thinking about the cars I owned in the past that were made in the 1940s through the 1960s,that could handle a sustained speed of 85 mph. I think my 1954 Buick’s engine would have been up to the task, but the handling and braking wouldn’t be good enough.

@dagosa you have to keep in mind that up until 1998 Montana was the last state to have NO posted speed limit. Many people way out there were used to driving as fast as they wanted. Shoot, they could legally do it with an open container of the alcoholic beverage of their choice. A law against that was not passed until 2005. Montanans are notorious for their (probably well deserved) desire to buck the federal system. Even when they were forced to endure the ridiculous federal 55 MPH limit, their penalty for speeding was a $5 fine for “Misuse of a resource” eg: oil.

Studies in other states have shown that higher speed limits on interstates don’t adversely affect accident rates. At least that’s what the article says. I tend to believe it.

I still believe that your thinking about the differences in speed in Montana is unfounded. As @ok4450 said, Montanans will probably go as fast as they want, just like they always have.

The one thing they need to be sure to take a close look at is the lack of revenue enhancement due to fines.

Quoting jtsanders

"If you get into an accident at 85 MPH, you are dead."

Then I know several zombies.
you need not comment on Maine if you haven't been there.

I have been there. There is no comparison between the roadways of Maine and those of Montana. You have too many trees, too many moose, and too many (read, more than 1) curves to make an 85mph limit practical. You can go hours in some parts of Montana without seeing a curve, and seeing few to no trees and cars. Until you get to the western mountains, crossing Montana is a lot like crossing Texas. Hours of flat, boring, nothing. If anything, 85 is slow.

@Triedaq‌ i wouldnt count on it. I forget specifics but I think those straight 8’s are good for roughly 150 horse when new. A tired one even less, plus the weight of that car. You’d be working it really hard in my opinion, not to mention risking breaking down in BFE.

Consider that even the lowest form of automotive machines are capable of triple-digit top speeds unless limited by the engine computer (my 2004 GM truck is limited to 99) and all of those vehicles can pull 0.70 G’s or better in a corner, 70 to 100% better than 1960’s cars.

I’m all for 85 mph speed limits in certain states on certain roads. (west Texas, Kansas, Nevada - big flat places) Just make “Keep right except to pass” the law, post signs and enforce it. It wouldn’t hurt to have electronic signs to drop the limit to 75 when the temperature drops below about 35 degrees.

Driving across the wide open spaces gets boring at a normal speed limit. I drove across the Bonneville Salt flats and 80 mph felt like standing still.

I bet when the accident occurred, they had slowed a lot to avoid the collision.

Love setting the cruise on 87.
But like many others state…it IS…
it IS, in fact, fully relative to the environment of the roadway.
I have been back east and driven on those roadways. The entire STATE seems too small for my Expedition, let alone trying to squeeze that kind of speed in there, no way.
Out here though it’s highly logical IF…IF we drivers are completely aware of the speed… .DIFFERENCE… of the other vehicles who can not , or don’t want to, drive that fast.