Speed limits are most definitely one of, if not the last thing that enters your mind when traveling to beautiful states such as South Dakota, a state that is brimming with culture, history, and of course, the iconic Mount Rushmore.

However, the state’s traffic authority sets out specific guidelines that must be adhered to in order to avoid receiving a traffic ticket, points on your license, subsequent insurance increases, or possible jail time!

If you are moving to the Mount Rushmore State, simply just visiting from another state or country, commuting, or just passing through from another state such as North Dakota, or even Nevada, having knowledge of the correct speed limits in South Dakota is extremely important.

Speed limits in South Dakota

Knowing the correct speed limits is not just about avoiding potential punishment, it is also about driving safely on the roads to prevent accidents and injury of you or another motorist or passersby. Driving within the speed limit helps reduce the possibility of crashes, maintains proper safety, promotes efficient use of the road, and saves you from fines and potential license suspension.

Traffic laws in South Dakota, including speed limits and other motor vehicle-related laws, are established by the South Dakota Department of Transportation. The state speed limits are defined by two different types of speed limits, basic speeding South Dakota law, and absolute speed limits.

The basic speeding law prohibits driving “at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual hazards then existing”. Put simply, motorists must always drive at a safe speed for the conditions and environment they are driving in.

An example would be that if you were driving on a 65 mph road on a snowy and dark day in South Dakota, you would be expected to slow down your speed to less than the signed speed limit of 65 mph because the weather and road conditions would be considered dangerous. If you were caught driving at the signed limit, you may be slapped with a fine, and potentially even more detrimental consequences.

Absolute and Basic South Dakota Speed Limit

The absolute speed limit in South Dakota is the speed limit you see signposted on roadways, literally what you see is what you get! If the weather conditions are good and ultimately safe, you may go at the maximum speed limit. Surpassing it will likely cost you fines, and other penalties.

South Dakota does not have the highest maximum speed limit in the U.S., however, it still has one of the highest. Only 4 other states have a higher maximum speed limit! The maximum speed limit at which you can travel on certain roads in Souh Dakota is 75 mph.

Here are the different speed limits to look out for in South Dakota:

  • 45 mph is the speed limit in residential areas (always double-check the posted speed limit).
  • Schools, hospitals, and construction zones all have lower speed limits than anywhere else in the state, so, keep a lookout for flashing signs that indicate a lower speed limit in these areas.
  • 65 mph is the maximum speed limit for undivided roads.
  • 70 mph is the maximum speed limit for divided roads.
  • The urban highway speed limit in South Dakota is 75 mph.
  • Rural highways in South Dakota are 75 mph.
  • The maximum speed limit in South Dakota for trucks is the same as the maximum speed limit for cars too (75 mph).

When driving through residential areas and not a state highway, something to be aware of is schools that often have temporarily lowered speed limits during arrival and departure times and enforce these limits very strictly. You don’t want to endanger others and receive a hefty fine or worse for not being aware of this.

Speeding Tickets and Points

In South Dakota, the cost of a speeding ticket is reliant on where the traffic violation took place, and also what the traffic violation was for, and how much you surpassed the speed limit. Here are the specific fines for driving violations in South Dakota:

  • Exceeding the speed limit by 1 to 5 mph = $87.50
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 6 to 10 mph = $107.50
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 11 to 15 mph = $127.50
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 20 mph = $147.50
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 21 to 25 mph = $167.50
  • Exceeding the speed limit by at least 26 mph = $222.50

There is a fairly stringent point system in place in South Dakota for those committing offenses other than speeding, and you can see them detailed below.

South Dakota Speeding Ticket PointsTotal Points
Driving while intoxicated10
Reckless driving8
Eluding an officer6
Drag racing6
Failure to yield right-of-way4
Improper passing4
Driving on wrong side of roadway4
Stop sign or stop light violation3
Most other moving offenses2

When visiting, passing through, or relocating your family to the state of South Dakota, it is understandable to have your mind focused on other things. Knowing what the speed limits are in South Dakota and abiding by them will ensure your time is well spent and minimize the chance of you being fined or getting into an accident.