South Dakota Teen Driving Laws, Insurance Requirements & Drivers License

Information on South Dakota Teen Driving Rules, Insurance Requirements & Drivers License

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South Dakota has a Graduate Driver Licensing Program (GDL). GDL laws have been proven to reduce fatalities, lower injuries and ultimately result in safer highways and roadways.  The rules described below explain how South D   akota’s GDL system works.

Teen Driving in South Dakota: The South Dakota Instruction Permit 

Applicants for the South Dakota instruction permit must be a minimum of 14 years of age.  Teen applicants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian during the application process.  Applicants for the instruction permit must present a certified birth certificate and Social Security information during application.  All applicants must pass a vision screening and a knowledge test prior to receiving an instruction permit. 

After all of the requirements are met the teen driver will receive an instruction permit that is valid for one year.  Instruction permit holders under the age of 18 must hold the permit for a minimum of 180 days before they are allowed to apply for a restricted minor permit or operator license. 

A teen driver who has completed an approved driver education course may apply for the restricted minor permit or operator license 90 days after receiving the instruction permit.  Teen drivers that have an instruction permit may only drive while accompanied by a licensed driver that is a minimum of 18 years of age that has at least one year of driving experience.  The licensed driver must occupy the front passenger seat next to the instruction permit holder at all times. 

The South Dakota Restricted Minor Permit  

Applicants for the restricted minor permit must be a minimum of 14 years of age. All applicants must pass a vision screening, a knowledge test and a driving test.  To receive a restricted minor permit, the applicant must complete the instruction permit requirements listed above.  Teen drivers that apply for the restricted minor permit must not have been convicted of a traffic violation for a minimum of 6 months prior to application. 

The restricted minor permit is valid for five  years and may be held by teen drivers up to the age of 18.  Restricted minor permit holders may drive between the hours of 6:00 am and 10:00 pm with the permission of a parent or legal guardian.  If the teen driver wishes to drive between the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 am they must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian that is seated in the front passenger seat next to them. 

The South Dakota Operator License  

All applicants for a South Dakota operator license must be a minimum of 16 years of age. Applicants must pass a vision screening, a knowledge test and a driving test.  Teen applicants between 16 and 18 years of age must complete the instruction permit requirements listed above and have no convictions for traffic violations for 6 months prior to application.  The operator license is valid for 5 years and may be renewed after passing a vision screening. 

South Dakota Insurance and Financial Responsibility  

All drivers in the State of South Dakota must be able to show proof of financial responsibility.  Most drivers choose liability insurance to safeguard themselves from the financial ramifications of accidents, injuries and property damage.  The minimum liability insurance required in the State of South Dakota is reflected below. 

  • $25,000  Bodily Injury of Death Of one Person in one Accident 
  • $50,000  Bodily Injury or Death of more than one Person in one Accident 
  • $50,000  Damage to the Property of Others in any one Accident  Coverage for underinsured and uninsured motorists is also required.  This coverage is for personal injuries caused by an underinsured or uninsured motorist.  This insurance does not cover vehicle damage.

Click here for more on South Dakota Insurance Requirements.

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