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When Montana Refused to Have a Speed Limit

How Much of Your Life Is Over-Regulated?

Tom Egelhoff
4 min readMay 1


Photo by Ludovic Charlet on Unsplash

I often talk about the five great inventions man has produced. Those five are the automobile, flight, electricity, telephone, radio, and TV.

How many of these great inventions are regulated or controlled by the government?

Answer: All of them.

Definition of Regulation

One definition of regulation is, “Regulation creates, limits, constrains a right, creates or limits a duty, or allocates a responsibility.”

Another definition from is “a law, rule, or other order prescribed by authority, especially to regulate conduct.”

According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), “Federal Regulations Take $1.8 Trillion Bite Out of US Economy,” in 2014. Imagine how much that is today.

That’s a pretty big bite. Are all those regulations necessary?

For a time, Montana had no speed limit. Was it the end of the world?

In 1974 during the oil embargo, President Nixon imposed a 55 MPH speed limit, so Montana came up with a $5 fine if the Montana Highway Patrol stopped you and nothing went on your driving record.

People carried a few $5 bills in their glove compartments just in case.

Most people did drive responsibly and obeyed the unwritten regulation of “reasonable and prudent” driving.

In December 1998, The Montana Supreme Court called Montana’s “reasonable and prudent” speed limit unconstitutionally vague.

I thought that the speed limit seemed reasonable and prudent, but the court considered otherwise.

Just because there’s no regulation is not an open invitation to abuse it.

How Regulated Is Your Life?

There are two kinds of regulations. Legal or lawful regulations are those forced on us by law or other controlling bodies.

Other regulations are those that we place upon ourselves in the form of personal…



Tom Egelhoff

Top Writer on Government, Entrepreneur, Radio Talk Show Host, Subscribe to my FREE Small Town Business Newsletter on Substack