Don’t want to get a ticket?
Want to ensure safety while driving?
Then it’s important to understand and follow the Montana traffic laws.
To help you out, we’re going to talk about the 4 laws every driver should know. These are:
- School bus laws
- Speed limits
- Parking laws
- Distracted driving laws
We’ll explain the law, its penalties, and more.
So let’s get started!
School Bus Laws in Montana
When you are driving with a school bus or in a school zone, keep these laws in mind:
- Vehicles are required to stop when a school bus flashes red lights and has an extended arm. This is required for vehicles traveling in the same or opposite direction. But if there is a median or no crossing sign, vehicles on the opposite lane can keep moving.
- You can only continue driving when the school bus starts moving again.
- Drivers must always yield to pedestrians. Even if they aren’t on a school crosswalk, you should slow down, make a full stop, and wait for them to pass.
- Drivers are not allowed to pass a school crossing guard when they are directing children on the roadway. Make sure to stop and wait for the crossing guard to put their sign down before you pass.
- Speed limits in a school zone will be indicated in warning signs. Look for signs and indicators to slow down.
- Keep crosswalks and school bus loading zones clear.
Whenever you’re in a school zone, make it a habit to slow down and be alert — there might be children biking or walking to school.
Don’t worry, a school zone will always be marked with a warning sign, such as these:
What happens if you fail to stop behind a school bus? Or if you go over the school zone speed limit?
You will face harsh penalties.
You will be charged with reckless driving, have to pay a fine of $1,000, and may even face jail time. So make sure you follow all the school bus laws, even if you are in a rush.
Speed Limits in Montana
In Montana, there are different speed limits for different road types. Check the table below:
Source: Montana Driver’s Manual
If you are overtaking on a two-lane road, you are allowed to exceed the speed limit by 10 miles per hour.
As for penalties, violating the speed limit will result in a fine as seen in the table:
|MPH Above the Speed Limit||Fine|
|1-10 in daytime/nighttime||$40|
However, not all speed limit violations will be placed on your driving record. The only exceptions are when:
- You go over 10 miles an hour during the day
- You go over 5 miles an hour during the night
Parking Laws in Montana
Here are the parking laws in Montana:
- A vehicle that is stopped or parked on a two-way roadway should have its right-hand wheels parallel to the curb and should be within 18-inches of the curb or as close to it as possible.
- You are not allowed to park in these areas unless allowed by a highway patrol officer or an official traffic control device:
- On a sidewalk
- In front of a public or private driveway
- Within an intersection or a crosswalk
- Within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection
- Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant
- Within 20 feet of the entrance or driveway of any fire station
- On the opposite side of the street from a fire station
- Within 30 feet of a flashing beacon, stop sign, or official traffic control device
- Between a safety zone and the adjacent curb or within 30 feet of the safety zone
- Within 50 feet of the nearest rail of a railroad crossing
- Alongside or opposite a street excavation or obstruction
- On any bridge or other elevated structure upon a highway or within a highway tunnel
- On a designated handicapped parking space unless you have a disabled parking permit
Parking in prohibited areas will lead to a parking violation notice, on top of these fines:
- $25 for any parking violation
- $100 for parking in a designated handicapped parking space
Distracted Driving Laws in Montana
Unlike most states, Montana has no ban on the use of cellular phones for texting, calling, and using social media while driving.
However, the use of cellular phones while driving is considered to be a distraction. And if that leads to a collision, you will be charged with careless driving.
In general, a driving distraction can be:
- Any behavior that takes your eyes off the road
- Any behavior that takes your hands off the steering wheel
- Any behavior that removes your focus on the road and your driving
Texting while driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving as it takes up all 3 behaviors.
Other examples of distracted driving include:
- Eating or drinking
- Grooming or wearing makeup
- Pacifying your children or your pets
- Watching something on the dashboard
Frequently Asked Questions
Got more questions about Montana traffic laws? Then let’s answer some of the most common ones.
Is it illegal to eat and drink while driving in Montana?
No, it is not illegal to eat or drink while driving. However, eating and drinking are distractions that take your hands off the steering wheel and your eyes off the road. This can lead to a collision, which can then lead to a careless driving charge.
Can you drive barefoot in Montana?
Yes, it is not illegal to be barefoot while driving in Montana. But keep in mind that driving barefoot is not ideal since the pedals are better controlled when you have footwear.
How much is a parking ticket in Montana?
A parking ticket starts at $25. If you park at a designated area for handicaps, you have to pay a bigger fine of $100.
Do speeding tickets affect your insurance rates in Montana?
Not all speeding tickets are placed on your driving record. If it isn’t on your driving record, your insurance company can’t use it as a basis to increase their rates
Speeding tickets that are included on your driving record, however, will affect your insurance rates.
And those were the Montana traffic laws that every driver should know about.
Just like in any state, there are a lot of laws that you need to know once you become a driver. Memorizing these laws isn’t fun, but they save you from accidents, fines, and points on your driving record.
So make sure you follow all these laws!