Montana is a big state, and Montana residents often have to drive long distances to get from one town to another. Unfortunately, spending long, monotonous hours behind the wheel can be hazardous. A driver who is short of sleep on a long drive is in danger of falling asleep behind the wheel and causing an auto accident. Even nodding off for a few seconds can have disastrous consequences.
Montana authorities post speed limits to alert drivers to the maximum legal speed on any given road. These include daytime speed limits, which are in effect from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset, and nighttime speed limits for all other times.
Drivers on the road today are cautioned to watch out for distracted, negligent or even intoxicated drivers. Pedestrians can become car accident victims can become victims when they on the road or even walking in an area near moving vehicles. Such was the case in Missoula recently.
Railroads play an important part in Montana's economy. Long freight trains carry the state's oil, coal and agricultural products to markets throughout the nation. But trains can be deadly, especially where their tracks cross roads and highways. There are over 3,500 railroad crossings in Montana. The nonprofit group Operation Lifesaver has published some safety tips that can help prevent death and serious injury to motorists.
Distracted driving is a serious safety issue in the United States. A Montana legislator is trying to reduce the danger in our state through a bill that would outlaw talking or texting on a cellular device while driving, unless that device is hands-free. State Representative Virginia Court of Billings is currently drafting the proposed law.
The New Year brought some encouraging news for Montana residents. The Montana Highway Patrol reported that the number of people killed on the state's roads in 2014 was significantly fewer than in 2013. Motor vehicle accidents claimed 192 lives in 2014 as compared to 229 in 2013, a 16 percent drop.
A serious auto accident can change a life in a matter of seconds. Car accident injuries can result in hospitalization, lingering pain, lost income from work and the inability to enjoy activities that were once an important part of your life. In cases of catastrophic injuries or a brain injury, an individual may lose the ability to carry out even the most basic functions of life.
Montana is a big state, and most Montanans are used to driving long distances. When traffic on rural highways is light, a person can save a lot of time by driving fast. Four Montana state legislators are now working on separate bills that would increase the daytime speed limit on interstates in Montana to 80 m.p.h. and in the case of one stretch of road, 85 m.p.h.
Like almost every state, Montana requires all vehicle owners to carry liability insurance or post an indemnity bond to cover bodily injury damages resulting from an accident. Owners of fleets of 25 or more vehicles can provide a certificate of self-insurance if they have sufficient resources to pay a judgment arising out of an accident. The insurance must provide liability coverage for bodily injuries in the amounts of $25,000 per person injured and $50,000 per accident. Unfortunately, many drivers in Montana drive without insurance, in violation of the law.
Traffic in Billings can be heavy, and heavy traffic increases the risk of car accidents. Recently Billings police identified the intersections in town where a significant number of motor vehicle accidents occur. According to police the most accident-prone intersection is in the Heights, where Main Street crosses Lake Elmo Drive.