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Montana’s Trucking Laws

Montana, along with every other state in the country, heavily relies on commercial trucking to deliver the goods and supplies necessary for residents and visitors. Even though the federal government does handle major regulations for Interstate commercial truck operations, each state does have its own requirements as well. More often than not, state requirements mimic or enhance federal regulations.

Federal Regulations and Their Application in Montana

Commercial trucking in Montana, as in the rest of the United States, is primarily governed by regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These include:

  • Hours of Service Regulations. These rules are crucial for ensuring that drivers have sufficient rest to prevent fatigue. The basic FMCSA regulations limit truck drivers to 11 hours of driving within a 14-hour workday, followed by 10 consecutive hours off duty. Montana adheres to these federal guidelines to promote safety on the roads.
  • Regular Inspection and Maintenance. Federal regulations also require regular inspection and maintenance of commercial vehicles to ensure they remain safe on the roadways. In Montana, trucking companies must comply with these rules, which help prevent mechanical failures that could lead to accidents.

Montana-Specific Trucking Laws

While Montana follows all federal trucking regulations, it also has some state-specific laws that address unique local concerns:

  • Chain Laws. Montana has specific requirements for the use of tire chains during winter months. These laws mandate that commercial trucks must carry chains between October 1st and May 31st to enhance safety in snowy and icy conditions.
  • Size and Weight Limits. Montana has its own regulations regarding the size and weight of commercial vehicles. These are particularly important for trucks traveling on state roads that might not be designed to handle the weight limits prescribed for Interstate highways.
  • Commercial Driver License (CDL) Requirements. Montana requires all commercial truck drivers to hold a CDL, which is obtained after passing both written and skills tests that are specific to the type of vehicle being driven and the nature of its use.

The Importance of Compliance With Montana Trucking Laws

Compliance with both federal and state trucking laws is essential for safety and legal operation. Violations can lead to major penalties, including fines and suspension of operating licenses. Trucking companies and drivers must stay informed about the latest regulations to ensure they meet all legal obligations.

In addition to the legal implications of not following trucking laws in Montana, we strongly encourage individuals to understand that these laws and regulations are in place for a reason.


The safety of Montana residents and visitors is of the utmost importance, and compliance with these regulations helps increase overall roadway safety.

Implications of Non-Compliance With These Regulations

Failure to adhere to trucking regulations can have serious consequences, including an increased risk of accidents. In the event of a crash, non-compliance with trucking laws can significantly impact liability and compensation issues. After a vehicle accident occurs, there will typically be an extensive investigation into the incident to determine liability. Truck owners and operators and trucking companies in Montana could be held liable for any injuries and property damage that occur as a result of their non-compliance with truck rules and regulations.