south dakota driver information
With its highways running through vast expanses of natural beauty, South Dakota is the ideal place to drive. Get the lowdown on driving through the Mount Rushmore State, from the penalty point system to the state's graduated licensing program.
South Dakota driving information
Number of licensed drivers: 602,000
Registered vehicles: 926,000
Licensing and registration authority: South Dakota Motor Vehicles Division
Number of work commuters: 412,997
Average commuting time: 16.7 minutes (second shortest commuting time in the nation)
Accidents and driving record points in South Dakota
Convictions for moving violations can add 2–10 points to your South Dakota driving record.
Racking up 15 points in a 12-month span or 22 points in 24 months will lead to a suspended drivers license.
DWIs and your driving record
In addition to an automatically suspended drivers license, a DWI conviction adds 10 penalty points to a driver's record.
Driving with a BAC of 0.08 constitutes a DWI. First-time convictions can also be penalized by a fine of up to $1,000 and one year in jail.
Reporting car accidents in South Dakota
South Dakota drivers are required to call the police to the scene of any accident that causes injuries or property damage of at least $1,000.
License and registration in South Dakota
If you plan to live in South Dakota for more than 90 days, you're required to get a South Dakota drivers license. You also have 90 days to register your vehicle with the County Treasurer.
Drivers in the military
Active members of the U.S. armed forces are granted license renewal extensions if serving out-of-state. After being discharged, you have 30 days to renew your drivers license.
Stolen cars in South Dakota
According to a recent report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), 242 cars were stolen in Sioux Falls in 2011. That was more than any other city in the state.
Comprehensive coverage, which is optional unless a loan or finance company requires it, offers financial protection in the event your car is stolen.
Most stolen vehicles in South Dakota in 2011
- 2000 Chevrolet Pickup (full size)
- 1999 Ford Pickup (full size)
- 1994 Chevrolet Pickup (small size)
- 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier
- 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix
- 2005 Chevrolet Impala
- 2002 Dodge Pickup (full size)
- 2002 Pontiac Grand Am
- 1996 Ford Taurus
- 1998 Chrysler Sebring
Young drivers in South Dakota
First-time drivers need to follow the state's graduated licensing program, which consists of 3 steps before a full license is granted.
Minimum instruction permit age: 14 years old
- Minimum holding period: 90 days if an approved driver education course is completed, 180 days if not taking drivers ed
- Teen drivers with an instruction permit may only drive with a licensed driver over the age of 18 (who has at least one year's driving experience) — between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. the accompanying adult must be a parent or guardian
Minimum restricted minor's permit age: 14 years old
- To obtain a restricted minor's permit, you'll need to complete your instruction permit holding period without incident and pass a driving test
- Drivers with a restricted minor's permit may drive by themselves with permission from the vehicle's owner, except between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., when they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian
Minimum operator's license age: 16 years old
- Drivers with a restricted minor's permit can obtain an operator's license at 16 if they have passed the vision, knowledge, and driving tests
- At age 18, a restricted minor's permit automatically converts to an operator's license
- To apply for an operator's license, drivers must have had a clean driving record for the previous 6 months
See the South Dakota Driver License Manual (PDF) for more info.
South Dakota car insurance
Browse through our guide for info on legal requirements, possible discounts, and a whole lot more.
South Dakota Motor Vehicles Division
Visit the MVD website for official info.