October 1st These Important Montana Traffic Laws Get Clarity
Montana's 2023 legislature passed quite a few bills in the session. One such bill, House Bill 407 goes into effect on October 1st, 2023. The "Yield, Slow Down, Move Over Act", will introduce a new section detailing how to properly yield to emergency vehicles. You may have already been aware of these rules, but there are specifics on speeds and what to do in multiple scenarios, that are now clearly defined.
Related: Montana Legislative Session 2023
Here are the Specific Montana Rules
This bill was introduced to help with the flow of emergency vehicles on Montana's roadways and to help keep highway workers and emergency responders safe. The purpose is to also give specific definitions of what needs to happen when emergency vehicles are approaching.
When an Emergency Vehicle or Highway Maintenance Vehicles Are Approaching
You should always yield to emergency vehicles and here is the specific wording on what you should do:
When being approached by a law enforcement vehicle or authorized emergency vehicle using its siren or emergency lights. The operator of a moving vehicle, unless otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer, shall yield the right-of-way to the law enforcement vehicle or authorized emergency vehicle. Drive cautiously to a position that is parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway and is not in an intersection; and remain stationary until the law enforcement vehicle or authorized emergency vehicle has passed.
Specific Speeds for Approaching Stationary Vehicles
If you are approaching a stationary emergency vehicle or highway maintenance vehicle, you will need to be aware of the speed limits in the area. If you can safely change lanes you will need to do so. You will also need to slow down and reduce your speed to the lowest posted speed limit. Interstates, it is 20 miles per hour below the speed limit, highways 30 miles per hour below the speed limit.
Reminder This is For Only Emergency Vehicles
These rules don't just apply to emergency vehicles in Montana now, they also apply to highway maintenance vehicles too.