South Dakota CDL Requirements

In State Driving Age:
18
Driving Between States Age:
21
Hazardous Age:
21
Exams Required:
  • Vision
  • Health
  • Written Test
  • Driving Test
IDs Required:
  • Driver's License
  • Social Security Card

South Dakota residents can apply for a Class A commercial driver license (CDL) at the age of 18. However, they will not be able to qualify for this type of driver license if any of the following applies to them:

  • They have a driver license that has ever been suspended or revoked
  • They do not live in South Dakota
  • They owe more than $1,000 in child support
  • They fail any part of the testing process

Types of Knowledge Tests for the CDL

Applicants who meet the requirements can apply to receive their learners permit, but they will need to pass a general knowledge test first. The general knowledge test allows applicants to show that they are familiar with South Dakota’s driving rules that pertain to commercial vehicle operation. However, adding endorsements to their licenses requires that they submit to extra testing. For example, those who will need to transport hazardous materials in their vehicles will need to take a knowledge test specifically for this endorsement. Other tests that applicants will be able to take include the following:

  • The air brake test
  • The combination vehicle test
  • The tanker test
  • The double or triple trailer test

Receiving a Learners Permit

Applicants will take their knowledge tests at the nearest exam station, but they will not have to make an appointment to do so. They will, however, need to pay fees for these tests. The general knowledge test has a $15 fee and each endorsement has a $10 fee. The South Dakota CDL Manual covers the knowledge on the written test.

Once applicants pass all of their knowledge tests with a grade of 80 percent or higher, they will receive their permits after paying the $15 fee. This permit allows them six months to learn to drive the commercial vehicle of their choice. However, they may feel that six months is not enough time to prepare for the skills test. If this is the case, they can renew their permits once within two years.

Taking the Driving Skills Test

After applicants feel that they are ready to take the driving skills test, they will apply for their license. First, they will need to pass the skills test. Applicants may need to make an appointment to take their tests, so they will need to contact their nearest third-party testing sites before they arrive for the test.

Once applicants have a date to take their tests, they will need to be ready to demonstrate their skills in handling the commercial vehicle. This means that they will be tested in the following three areas:

  • Inspecting the vehicle and determining that it is safe to drive
  • Controlling the vehicle while performing maneuvers such as starting, stopping, backing up, moving forward and turning the vehicle
  • Driving safely on the public roads and highways as they follow the rules of the road in several different driving situations

Receiving the CDL

After passing the driving skills test, applicants need to pay a $15 fee for a Class A driver license that will be valid for five years. This license will expire on the applicants’ birthdays at the end of that time period.

South Dakota re-licensing information allows for relicensing and renewal up to 6 months before the actual expiration date. Those who allow this date to pass before renewal could be subject to retesting for both the knowledge test and the skills test.

View Truck Driving Schools in South Dakota that offer CDL Training. 

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