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Cell Phones and Texting: Distracted Driving Laws in South Dakota

cell phone

It is illegal for drivers of all ages to text and drive in South Dakota. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a handheld wireless communication device while they are operating a motor vehicle. A few cities have taken these laws further and have enacted local ordinances that ban distracted driving. These cities include:

  • Aberdeen
  • Box Elder
  • Brookings
  • Huron
  • Mitchell
  • Rapid City
  • Sioux Falls
  • Vermillion
  • Watertown


  • No texting while driving for drivers of all ages

  • Drivers under 18 years of age are not allowed to use a handheld wireless communication device

The texting while driving law is a secondary law in South Dakota. This means a law enforcement officer will need to see a driver commit a moving violation before pulling them over in order to issue the driver a texting citation.

Note: Rapid City has a local ordinance where texting and driving is a primary law, meaning all it takes for a law enforcement officer to pull someone over for texting and driving is to see them do it.

Note: Huron, South Dakota, there is a distracted driving ordinance that takes the law further and bans any activity that can distract a driver. Primary offenses in this city include: texting, sending an image, or emailing. Secondary offenses include viewing or receiving these items. Other activities that count as distracted driving and are a secondary offense include:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Putting on makeup

There is a fine associated with texting and driving. The fine is all across the entire state and is used in the local ordinances as well.


  • $100

South Dakota has a statewide ban on texting while driving. Overall, it is a secondary violation, yet, some cities have made it a primary violation. When traveling into these cities, there is normally a sign posted to inform drivers of the change in the law. While it is important to be aware of these signs so as to be prepared to put the cell phone away, it's safer to not have it out in the first place.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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