South Dakota Speeding Laws

Learn about South Dakota's speeding laws and the consequences of a violation.

In addition to "absolute speed limits" (see below), South Dakota's "basic speeding law" prohibits driving at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing. (S.D. Codified Laws § 32-25-3 (2017).)

Penalty for Exceeding Speed Limit

A first-time speeding violator may be:

  • fined not more than $200, and
  • sentenced to a maximum 30 days in jail.

Penalty for Reckless Driving

South Dakota defines “reckless driving” as driving “carelessly and heedlessly in disregard of the rights or safety of others or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property.” For a first violation, the motorist is looking at up to a year in jail and/or a maximum $2,000 in fines. (S.D. Codified Laws §§ 22-6-2, 32-24-1 (2017).)

(Learn more about South Dakota's reckless driving laws and the consequences of a conviction.)

Speed Limits

South Dakota's absolute speed limits are:

  • 75 miles per hour on interstate highways
  • 65 miles per hour on other streets or highways
  • 55 miles per hour on township roads
  • 25 miles per hour on urban streets that do not have posted speed limits, and
  • 15 miles per hour in school zones.

South Dakota Speeding Laws

South Dakota has what is known as an “absolute” speed limit law. There's no trick to how it works: If the sign says 40 miles per hour and you drive 41 miles per hour or more, you have violated the law. In other words, you are guilty if you drive over the speed limit. In South Dakota you may be able to make three possible defenses:

  • attacking the officer’s determination of your speed (to do this you must discover what method the officer used to cite you and then learn about the ways to attack that particular method)
  • claiming an emergency forced you to exceed the speed limit to avoid serious damage or injury to yourself or others, and
  • claiming that the officer mistook your car for another car (with so many similar-looking cars, it is possible that a cop could see a speeding car, lose sight of it around a corner, and then wrongly pick out your car farther down the road).

Note that in South Dakota you can be ticketed for driving at an unsafe speed, even if that speed does not violate the posted limit—for example, driving exactly at the maximum posted limit on the freeway amidst slower and heavy traffic, in a dense fog, or in a driving rainstorm or blizzard.

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