Following is an overview of the laws, limits, and fines as they relate to speeding traffic violations in the state of South Dakota.
Speed limits in South Dakota
As of April 2016, South Dakota is one of just six states to date to post an 80 mph speed limit.
80 mph: rural interstates and freeways, except I-90 between Rapid City and the Wyoming border
75 mph: urban interstates and freeways
70 mph: divided four-lane rural highways
55 mph: township roads
25 mph: urban streets without posted limits
25 mph: residential areas
15 mph: school zones
South Dakota code on reasonable and prudent speed
Maximum speed law:
According to section 32-25-3 of SD vehicle code, “It is unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing.”
Minimum speed law:
“No person shall operate a motor vehicle at such slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”
“It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle at less than 40 mph on an interstate highway.”
“A person driving a slow-moving vehicle shall drive as closely as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of a highway.”
Due to variations in speedometer calibration, tire size, and margins of error in speed-detecting technology, it’s uncommon for an officer to pull a driver over for going less than five miles above the speed limit. However, technically any amount over can be considered a speed violation so best practices are to stay within the limit.
While it may be difficult to fight a speeding ticket in South Dakota due to the absolute speed limit law, a driver may choose to go to court and claim their innocence based upon one of the following:
The driver may oppose the determination of speed. In order to claim this defense a driver must know how his or her speed was determined and then learn how to disprove its accuracy.
A driver may claim that an emergency situation caused the driver to break the speed limit in order to prevent injury or damage to themselves or others.
The driver may claim a case of mistaken identity. If a police officer clocks a driver speeding and subsequently has to find them again in traffic, it’s possible that they could have made a mistake and pulled the wrong car over.
Penalty for exceeding the speed limit in South Dakota
First-time violators may:
Be fined up to $370
Be sentenced to up to 30 days of jail time
Penalty for reckless driving in South Dakota
There is no set amount by which exceeding the speed limit constitutes reckless driving in this state. That determination may be made based upon other factors involved in the violation.
First-time violators may:
Be fined up to $1,000
Be sentenced to up to one year of jail time
Have their license suspended (via a point system)
Unlike most states, South Dakota does not apply points to a violator’s driving record for speeding violations.