New driving laws for South Dakota teenagers start July 1

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 11:00 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Teenagers in South Dakota who are about to get their driving permits or licenses will soon have new guidelines to follow.

This due to the passing of the 2020 state Senate Bill 113, which aims to make sure student drivers are ready to drive by themselves before getting their restricted permit or license.

Under the new law, anyone under the age of 18 in South Dakota wanting to get their license must hold a restricted permit for 6 months.

The amount of time between getting an instructional permit, which requires an adult driver supervising, and the restricted permit, which allows teenagers to drive by themselves from 6 am to 10 pm is being increased.

“The length of the instruction permit is going from 180 days to 275 days and with Drivers Ed, it’s going from 90 days and to 180 days,” said Jane Schrank, Director of the South Dakota Drivers Licensing Program.

Teenagers driving under a restricted permit are no longer allowed to have non-family members as passengers in their car for the first six months. After those six months, they are allowed only one passenger who is not a family member.

“It’s all about strengthening the laws and keeping teen drivers safe and I know some of these changes will be difficult for some people, but in the long run, the hope is that’s what will happen,” said Schrank.

Nicole Zeman, a parent in Sioux Falls, says she understands the need for keeping teen drivers safe, but as a single mother, having her kids not be able to carpool with friends can make things difficult.

“She can’t carpool with friends; she can’t help her take her friends with her for the other families that are single parents or work later than they should,” said Zeman. “So, it’s going to be a struggle trying to figure that out when you have a job that goes past three cause events are at four.”

One of her daughters, Kylie Van Lenning, is about to get her instructional permit and can’t wait to move on to her restricted permit. She says she can see the pros and cons when it comes to allowing non-family members into the car for new drivers.

“If you have more people you kind of get distracted more but it would be a good opportunity to help people that don’t have the opportunity,” said Van Lenning.

These changes will affect everyone with instruction or restricted permit, even if they acquired them before the July 1 start date.

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