South Dakota, “The Mount Rushmore State”, is home to the Black Hills where its namesake’s monument is located. Separated by the mighty Missouri River, the state’s landscape is divided into ranching on the west and industry and farming on the east. This variation gives South Dakota a wide selection of attractions for residents as well as visitors. Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park and miles of open country in between attract tourists looking for wide open spaces and endless views. CheapCarInsurance.net has made the wide open spaces easier to access by giving South Dakota drivers more time to get out there. Searching high and low for all the driving and car insurance information for the state, CheapCarInsurance.net has compiled it all here for the convenience for all the South Dakota drivers.
LAWS & REGULATIONS
This state has history as wild as its landscape, and its laws and regulations have changed as often as its seasons. This list will help South Dakotans weather the change and easily find the information needed to stay on the road and well-protected.
South Dakota’s Minimum Requirements for Car Insurance
- The Division of Insurance in South Dakota makes it clear that the state requires coverage for all vehicles to include liability and underinsured/uninsured motorist insurance.
- Liability minimums in South Dakota:
- $25,000 coverage in the event of an injury from an accident.
- $50,000 coverage in the event of multiple injuries in an accident.
- $25,000 coverage in the event of damaged property in an accident.
- Uninsured/Underinsured minimums in South Dakota:
- Must match liability coverage
New Driver Licensing Requirements
- South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety handles the issuance and renewals of drivers licenses in the state. State law (SDCL 32-12-39) requires all drivers to get a license within 30 days of residency and to keep their driver’s license on them at all times while driving. The state offers minors an Instruction Permit and a Restricted Minor’s License to give them a chance to learn to drive with increasing responsibility. South Dakota’s DPS website outlines the process for the permits and licenses.
- Instruction Permit. Applicants who have reached 14 years of age may apply for this permit by passing the vision and knowledge exams. Requirements and restrictions with this license include:
- An applicant who is under 18 years old must hold the permit either for 180 days or for 90 days if he/she completes an approved Driver Education Course.
- The applicant must have a licensed adult driver in the front seat at all times while driving.
- Restricted Minor’s Permit. In addition to the requirements for the Instruction Permit, applicants at this stage must pass the driving test as well. The following applies to this permit:
- The applicant must have not had a driving violation within the 6 months preceding their application to this permit.
- The applicant is allowed to drive his/her vehicle between the hours of 6am and 10pm.
- The restriction on driving times is lifted while a parent or licensed adult is occupying the seat next to the applicant.
- Upon the applicant’s turning 17 years of age, the permit is transferred to a regular Operator’s License.
- Vision Screening. Without a peripheral vision requirement, the applicant must have a visual acuity of at least 20/40 with or without corrective lenses. This test is given upon issuing a new license and upon every renewal.
- Knowledge Test. The South Dakota Driver’s Manual is the source for this exam. It consists of multiple choice questions regarding traffic laws, signs, signals, markings and safe driving practices.
- Road Test. The driver’s manual is the source for this test as well, and the point of the test is to evaluate an applicant’s driving skills. The vehicle used must be provided by the applicant, have proof of insurance and registration and must be properly equipped. The test administrator will ride in the front seat next to the applicant and lead the applicant through a series of basic driving maneuvers, each of which are explained in detail in the Driver’s Manual.
- Three attempts within a 6-month period are allowed for the exams. Upon failing the third attempt, the fees would need to be paid again.
- Fees. A driver’s license and a permit each require a $20 fee.
- BAC limit: .08 State law (SDCL § 32-23) defines DUI and the penalties associated with it in the state of South Dakota. A summary of the penalties can be located on the state’s DPS website, and several of those penalties are included here:
- First Offense – Class 1 Misdemeanor:
- Jail: maximum 1 year
- License revocation: minimum 30 days
- Fine: maximum $1,000
- Second Offense – Class 1 Misdemeanor:
- Jail: maximum 1 year
- License revocation: minimum 1 year
- Fine: $1,000
- Third Offense – Class 6 Felony:
- Jail: maximum 2 years
- License suspension: minimum 1 year from sentencing or from release from prison, whichever is later.
- Fine: $2,000
- DUI School
- Subsequent convictions and aggravated factors result in severely increased penalties.
- The BAC limit for a driver under the age of 21 is .02 percent.
Texting & Driving Laws
There is a ban on hands-free and hand held cell phone use for novice drivers, and no driver may text and drive. Distraction.gov
Each state has its own priorities when making laws, and South Dakota is no different. In this state, for instance, it is illegal to lie down and fall asleep while in a cheese factory. It is also illegal to arm wrestle a pacifist in an attempt to change his/her mind, and pants must be worn by all horses in certain South Dakota cities!
Average Car Insurance Premiums
Hitting record lows between 2006 and 2008, South Dakota has kept its average premiums as a percentage of income well below the national average.
Drunk Driving Fatalities
While South Dakota managed to keep the state’s drunk driving fatalities below the national average in 2010 and 2011, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed the 2012 and 2014 numbers were above the national average.
Teen Drinking and Driving
South Dakota’s teens drink and drive at a higher percentage than their peers across the nation.
Vehicular Theft in South Dakota
In 2012, South Dakota saw a rise in auto thefts, bringing the state’s rate to 127.8. The FBI reported that thefts in the state are well below the national average.