South Dakota Golf Cart Laws
As a reasonably northern state – in spite of its name – South Dakota often sees a lot of snow.
However, its relatively low population and very rural nature also make it a popular destination for tourists.
So if you plan on visiting here – or even retiring – and want to use your golf cart or low-speed vehicle, you must be prepared to follow the many rules and regulations that dictate their operation.
Federal Laws to Consider
Currently, the federal government does not consider golf carts to be motor vehicles.
That’s because they do not travel above 20 miles per hour, as manufactured.
As a result, they do not restrict how states and municipalities control the use of these carts.
They do regulate the use of carts on federal and international highways, however.
As they are too slow for these roads, golf carts are rarely allowed on them.
The only time they may is if a state will enable them to pass such ways at an appropriate intersection.
Therefore, you must research what each state allows for golf carts.
Some are relatively strict and regulate your use completely.
Others are less harsh with their laws and even allow local governments to create requirements for golf cart use.
Typically, states often enable cities and counties to make more specific rules.
However, this more lax regulation may vary depending on the state, so pay close attention to what each area demands when you travel across the country and use golf carts.
That said, the federal government does have rules and restrictions for low-speed vehicles.
These are any motor vehicles that can travel above 20 miles per hour but no more than 25 miles per hour.
Golf carts may fall under this heading if they are correctly upgraded but do not do so as manufactured.
Upgrades required by federal law include headlights, stop lights, turn signals, taillights, reflex reflectors, parking brakes, rearview mirrors, seat belts, and a vehicle identification number or VIN.
States may add a few extra elements to these upgrades but cannot discard them unless given special permission by the federal government.
South Dakota Golf Cart Laws
South Dakota’s Statue 32-14-13 defines a golf cart as a “four-wheeled vehicle originally and specifically designed and intended to transport one or more individuals and golf clubs” correctly “for the purpose of playing the game of golf on a golf course.”
As a result, low-speed vehicles upgraded to meet federal regulations do not qualify, as they have been adjusted to become a new class of motorized carts.
And, according to South Dakota Statute 32-14-14, unincorporated towns may allow the use of golf carts within their boundaries.
Anyone who wants to follow this law must insure the cart and have a driver’s license to operate motor vehicles.
They must also get a permit from their local government and display a slow-moving vehicle sign or a warning light.
These lights can be either white or amber and must be placed so that drives on the front and the back of the vehicle can see it.
These statutes continue, with 32-14-15 stating that golf cart use on a “a state o county highway is prohibited (unless as stated above) except for crossing from one side of the highway to the other” is prohibited.
Golf carts can cross these highways at a right angle and must stop and yield the right of way to all approaching traffic.
They must also pass as closely as possible to the intersection or approach to ensure that they are safe.
Low-Speed Vehicle Guidelines in South Dakota
South Dakota follows all federal government guidelines for low-speed vehicles.
They also ask that all vehicles under this classification meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
After you add the appropriate upgrades – as mentioned above – your cart must be inspected by a DMV official.
They will make sure that your cart follows all FMVSS guidelines to keep it safe and entirely legal.
When riding a low-speed vehicle in South Dakota, you must follow all speed limit rules.
This includes not driving faster than 25 miles per hour per the low-speed vehicle limitation.
If your cart can exceed that speed, it may fall under the heading of a medium-speed vehicle.
The rules for these carts are not as defined by South Dakota law, so you must work to keep your cart at lower operating speeds for legal purposes.
You must also remember that your cart is not legally a golf cart in South Dakota.
Instead, it is a low-speed vehicle and will be treated as such. Therefore, you can only drive on roads with a speed limit of up to and including 35 miles per hour.
You also must register your cart, get a driver’s license, and insure it.
Policies that you’ll need include personal protection and property damage.
These ensure that you don’t run into legal issues when running your cart.
Federal Golf Cart Laws
Even though our guides are thorough and researched, it is highly recommended that you perform your own research and check with your local municipality on rules as well.