Frequently Asked Questions


The speed limit on rural Interstate is 80 mph for cars or trucks, day or night, with a minimum speed of 40 mph. All secondary highways are 65 mph, unless otherwise posted.

School zones and obstructed intersections are 15 mph. City streets are 25 mph, unless otherwise posted. All vehicles are required to operate in a reasonable and prudent manner based on the existing driving conditions.

Radar and aircraft are used by the South Dakota Highway Patrol to check for speeders. Warning signs are posted at the state borders and city limits. Radar detectors are allowed in passenger vehicles.

Seat belts are required for the driver and front seat passengers as a secondary offense. However, all occupants 17 years old and under, must wear a seat belt as a primary offense.

South Dakota Seat Belt Statutes:

  • 32-38-1: Use required—Public highways—Front seat passenger
  • 32-38-2: Passenger vehicle defined
  • 32-38-3: Exceptions to required use of safety belts
  • 32-38-4: Failure to comply—Evidence
  • 32-38-5: Enforcement—Violation as petty offense

Yes. In South Dakota, children under 5 years of age and children weighing less than 40 pounds must be properly secured in a child passenger restraint system; however, it is recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to keep kids in child safety seat until the age of 8, or until they are 4'9" tall.

South Dakota Child Passenger Restraint System Statutes:

  • 32-37-1: Use of system required—Violation as petty offense
  • 32-37-1.1: Operator to assure that passengers between ages 5 and 18 wear seat belts
  • 32-37-1.2: Certain operators required to wear seat belts
  • 32-37-1.3: Passengers between ages 14 and 18 required to wear seat belts
  • 32-37-2: Exemptions
  • 32-37-3: Repealed
  • 32-37-4: Violation not considered negligence or assumption of risk; evidence inadmissible

It is illegal to text or read a message while driving as a primary offense in South Dakota. However, talking on your cellular phone is permitted.

All riders and passengers under the age of 18 must wear a motorcycle helmet.

Parking on the highway is prohibited except in emergencies. Every reasonable effort should be made to alert oncoming traffic of the temporary hazard.

Drivers should use their hazard lights when pulled over on the highway for an emergency as a warning to other drivers. In South Dakota, hazard light use is permitted while driving to warn others if you’re moving at a slow speed or in dangerous conditions like a blizzard or fog to improve visibility to other vehicles.

Studded tires are permitted from October 1 to April 30. School buses and municipal fire vehicles are permitted to use studs anytime.

Coming from either direction, you must stop when you see red signal lights displayed on a school bus. Flashing red lights mean the bus is stopped to either load or unload school children. Minimum distance from the bus when stopped is 15 feet. Failure to stop will result in citation and substantial fine.

South Dakota Move Over law requires motorists in South Dakota to:

  • Stop when coming from any direction and approaching any stopped authorized emergency vehicle using red visual signals/lights.
  • Move over and slow down when passing any vehicle displaying amber or yellow flashing signals/lights.

Bicyclists must obey motor vehicle laws and the rules of the road and must ride with traffic. Helmet use is not required but highly recommended. Bicyclists are allowed to travel on the interstate system and other roadways unless specifically prohibited. Bicyclist shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.  Special events require approval from the Department of Transportation or the local authorities on a highway under their jurisdiction. A list of bicycle regulation may be found from the South Dakota Department of Transportation.

Pedestrians have the right of way within the crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk at intersections.

By joining the South Dakota Highway Patrol, you can pursue a career that serves citizens with confidence, distinction and pride. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, a U.S. citizen and pass a written and physical skills test. Learn about Highway Patrol Trooper job requirements and apply online.

Patch requests are fulfilled only to law enforcement professionals representing a law enforcement agency. Requests must be submitted on the agency's official department letterhead to:

South Dakota Highway Patrol
C/O:  Patch Request
118 West Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501-2000

For a full list of rules of the road and driving regulations, read the South Dakota Driver's Manual (in English or Spanish).


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