south Dakota learner's permit

How to Get a Learner’s Permit in South Dakota: A Complete Guide

by Zutobi · Updated Jan 20, 2022

If you’re looking to get an instruction permit in South Dakota, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explain all the important details so you know exactly what to expect.

South Dakota Permit Requirements

The instruction permit, also known as the learner’s permit, is the first step of the GDL program and is only required for new drivers under the age of 18. You can apply for one as soon as you turn 14 years old.

How to Get an Instruction Permit in South Dakota

If you satisfy the requirements above, you can apply for your permit by following these steps:

  1. Visit the SD DPS. The DPS is where you’ll complete your application. A parent or a legal guardian will need to accompany you to start the process.
  2. Complete this permit application. You can fill it out online and print it or grab a copy at the DPS. 
  3. Present proper documentation. Before you visit the DPS, you will need to gather certain documents – this includes proof of identity, birth date, and citizenship. You will also be asked to present two documents proving that you live in the state of South Dakota.
  4. Pass a vision screening. You will be given a vision test in order to ensure your eyesight is completely safe to operate a motor vehicle. A 20/60 vision or better is required to pass.
  5. Pass the written test. After the vision test, the written test comes next. It will test you upon key driving concepts, rules, regulations, and road signs within the state of South Dakota. There are 25 questions on the exam and you’ll need to answer 20 correctly to pass. 
  6. Pay the permit fee and receive your instruction permit.

The most difficult step in the process is to pass the written test. While you can spend hours studying the state driver’s handbook, many find it quite boring and it’s very ineffective for most people. Luckily, Zutobi exists to solve this very problem. Our platform helps thousands of teens and young adults pass the written exam each month. Try our South Dakota permit practice test here or sign up for our full prep course today.

Permit Restrictions

All new drivers with a learner’s permit are required to be accompanied by a licensed driver at least 18 years old at all times while operating a motor vehicle. Furthermore, you may not be allowed to drive in other states depending on the rules of the state. 

How to Progress to a Minor’s Permit or Full License

The next step in the GDL program in South Dakota is the minor’s permit (or full license if you are an adult). To receive your minor’s permit, you first need to pass the road test. The road test will test your ability to safely and correctly operate a motor vehicle – including performing key maneuvers, following road signs, and more.

To be eligible to sit the road test, you must have first held your learner’s permit for at least 180 days without any traffic convictions. If you haven’t completed a drivers education program, you will need to hold your permit for at least 275 days. You will also need to provide proof of 50 hours of parent/guardian supervised driving (10 of those at night and 10 during inclement weather). These hours should be recorded in the student driving log.

If you’re an adult, you can sit the road test at any time.

If you progressed through the GDL, your full driver’s license will be granted to you once you have held your minor’s permit for six months, have driven conviction-free for six months, and have parental written approval.

That’s It!

That’s everything you need to know about getting your South Dakota learner’s permit. If you need any help studying for your upcoming knowledge or driving exams, then Zutobi is the perfect study resource with a summarized handbook, South Dakota practice tests, and a gamified learning experience.

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