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South Dakota Learners Permit

South Dakota Learners Permit

If you are thinking of getting a license in South Dakota, the learners permit will be your first step. The South Dakota learners permit will allow you to gain some driving experience before you go in for the road test ensure your safety on the road once you start driving on your own.


The graduated drivers license system is what regulates the licensing procedure for teenage drivers. Teenagers are in the high risk group when it comes to driving and lack of driving experience if often to blame for this. The GDL system introduces a multi-step licensing process with a number of restrictions for minors, something that has been proven to increase the safety on the roads.

Learners Permit Application

The minimum permit age in South Dakota is 14. If you are of this age, you can start the learners permit application procedure. In order to do that, visit your nearest DPS office While at the office, you will be required to present the following documents:

  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of birth date
  • Social security card

If you are under 18 years of age, you will also need to have your legal guardian to be present. The DPS clerk will have you fill in the drivers license application form and take the written knowledge exam as well as the vision test.

Although the permit exam is not hard at all, the majority of the first-time applicants fail the test the first time. This usually happens because the applicant fails to estimate his knowledge of driving rules correctly.

Want to pass your drivers permit exam the first time you take it? No problem. Just grab yourself a copy of the drivers handbook, compliment it with some South Dakota permit practice tests and you should not have any problems at the DPS.

Once you pass the exams and pay the $8 licensing fee, you will be given with your instruction permit, which is valid for 12 months. If your permit expires, you will need to renew it.

Instruction Permit Restrictions

The permit was designed to give you a chance to hone your driving skills and hence it allows supervised driving only. Whenever you want to go out for a drive, you have to have another licensed driver sitting next to you at all times. The permit also has other restrictions, such as a curfew.

Holding Period

License applicants who are under 18 years of age must hold on to the permit for at least 180 days before taking the road test. If you want, you can cut this time by half and apply for the license after holding your permit for just 3 months. If you want to be able to do that, you will need to complete a state-certified South Dakota drivers education class.

Once you have held your permit for the required period of time, you can schedule the road test with the DPS. Successfully passing the test will see you with either a regular drivers license or the restricted minor's permit.

Drivers License vs Restricted Minor's Permit

If you take your driving skills exam before you turn 16, you are not granted with the unrestricted drivers license. Instead, the DPS issues you with a restricted minor's permit. The permit allows unsupervised driving during the day and it has less restrictions than the regular instruction drivers permit. When you turn 16, the restrictions will be lifted, provided you have a clean driving record.