Most of the myriad rules and regulations enforced by the South Dakota Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) apply to drivers of all ages and stages—and the state claims it imposes no special rules on drivers based on age alone.
Still, some of the legal controls discussed here, such as possible restrictions on a driver’s license and procedures for securing disability parking plates and placards, may be especially relevant for older drivers.
Time limits: All drivers must renew their licenses every five years and in person at least every ten years. Drivers' licenses that expired on or after March 13, 2020 were automatically extended through December 30, 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Vision test: Required at renewal. DMV personnel will conduct a test free, but may require an exam by an outside ophthalmologist or optometrist if more information is needed.
Written test: May be required at the discretion of DMV personnel.
Road test: May be required at the discretion of DMV personnel.
The DMV can place restrictions or conditions on a person’s driver's license after administering a driving test and discussing possible restrictions with him or her.
The most common restriction for older drivers is to require glasses or corrective contact lenses.
In South Dakota, other common requirements the DMV may impose on older drivers include:
The South Dakota DMV will accept information about potentially unsafe driving from a relative, friend, police officer, court personnel, insurance company personnel, doctor, DMV personnel, or others with personal knowledge of a driver’s abilities. Anonymous reports will not be accepted, however.
Those who wish to request that the DMV review driving qualifications should:
South Dakota encourages doctors who diagnose a patient with a disorder characterized by lapses of consciousness, or any physical, neurological, or mental illness likely to impair driving to report that diagnosis to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety-Driver Licensing Program on a Medical Statement form.
Drivers can improve their skills by taking an education and training class specifically developed for older drivers. Current information about local course offerings is available from the South Dakota Safety Council.
Procedures for getting back a license that has been suspended or revoked in South Dakota differ according to specifics of each situation. For more information, see “Revoked or Suspended License Information.”
Disabled person parking placards and license plates can be issued to drivers with impaired mobility if a licensed medical practitioner certifies the condition.
The placards and plates are available for those who:
To obtain a disabled placard or plate:
The DMV website has a wealth of information for South Dakota drivers, including licensing and vehicle registration requirements. Of special interest is the page “Helpful Facts for Aging Drivers,” which includes advice on recognizing and assessing vision and cognitive impairment and conditions that may affect driving and safe driving tips for older drivers.
You can use Nolo’s Lawyer Directory to find a local lawyer experienced in representing older people who need help with auto accidents or traffic tickets in South Dakota.