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The Hood Magazine

Changes to Teen Permit Laws May Change Your Summer Plans

Jun 28, 2021 ● By The Hood Magazine

By: The Hood Magazine

New law aims to help teens be safer drivers with more education, training, and guidance. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens per the CDC, but with the right education and parental guidance, you can help your teen be a safer driver. If your teen is ready to get behind the wheel soon, recent updates to South Dakota laws may change when they are able to hit the road alone.

The law, passed in 2020, changes some of the eligibility requirements for teen instruction permits and operator licenses; it went into effect on July 1, 2021. It is important to note that there is no grandfathering for those who hold permits prior to July 1, 2021. Per the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, here is what parents need to know:

Instruction Permit Requirements

• Drivers between 14 and 18 years of age, issued an Instruction Permit July 1, 2020 or after, are required to drive on the permit for a minimum of 275 days (or 180 days after passing an approved driver’s education course) before upgrading to a Restricted Minor’s Permit.

• Any minor holding an Instruction Permit issued July 1, 2020 or after, must complete 50 hours of adult supervised driving. The 50 hours must include 10 hours of driving in inclement weather and 10 hours of nighttime driving. Restricted Minor’s Permit Changes

• Anyone under 18 years of age must drive on a Restricted Minor’s Permit for a minimum of 6 months before upgrading to an unrestricted driver’s license.

• Drive, with your parent/guardian’s permission, alone from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. you must have a parent or legal guardian seated next to you.

• Exceptions for driving on a Restricted Minor’s Permit: o May drive alone after 10 p.m. if they are taking the most direct route and traveling to or from:  School or a school event  Church or church event  Work  Driving ag machinery

• Passenger limit while driving without adult supervision on a Restricted Minor’s Permit: o The first 6-month period of driving on a Restricted Permit, no passengers are allowed except immediate family or members of the driver’s household.

After 6-months of driving on a Restricted Permit, teens may have one passenger under 18 who is not immediate family or part of their household. If you want to learn more about these changes to teen drive permits, visit the South Dakota Department of Public Safety Driver’s Licensing website at or contact the state Driver Licensing Program via email at [email protected] or call 605-773-6883.