Mount Rushmore

Today is July 1st, 2020 and that means that South Dakota has several new laws on the books effective today. One of those is a change to South Dakota’s Move Over Law.   

Senate Bill 164 was passed by the 2020 state legislature earlier this year. It changes the minimum fine for failing to move over for stopped traffic from $122.50 to $270.  Along with moving over for emergency vehicles that are displaying their flashing Amber lights, traffic is now required to move over for authorized vehicles that use a blue light will working on a highway.   

All traffic must still stop for emergency vehicles flashing red lights.  Another provision in the new law is that if a driver fails to move over and causes a crash with an emergency vehicle the offense increases to a class one misdemeanor which is a jailable offense. 

House bill 1169 is the Texting While Driving bill that was signed into law earlier this yearThe new law makes using a mobile device while operating a vehicle a Class 2 misdemeanor, unless you are contacting emergency services. You can also use your GPS in your mobile device, but not enter in your destination while driving. Hands free operation is encouraged, and you can activate and deactivate that feature on your phone while driving.  However, you are not allowed to enter data on your device while driving.  

South Dakota teenage drivers won't have to worry this summer about having to meet the provisions of a new law that was to take affect today. Senate bill 113, which was passed by this year's legislature, is designed to strengthen South Dakota's current graduated driver's license laws covering teen drivers between the ages of 14 and 18.  

Governor Kristi Noem issued an executive order on Friday suspending the implementation of the bill through December 31st, 2020.  Driver's Licensing Program Director Jane Schrank said, “The delay in implementing the bill will allow South Dakota's drivers licensing staff statewide to work through the backlog of license application requests due to the stations being closed for a time during COVID-19.”  Schrank says, “the staff can continue to address the backlog without having to deal with the new current teen driving laws at the same time.”