Several bills with highway safety as their theme have been offered for consideration this year in South Dakota. One bill authorizing certain studded tires on vehicles year-round is now law while measures related to teen driving and seat belt use have died.
Gov. Mike Rounds signed the bill into law allowing retractable studded tires on trucks and other vehicles year-round. State law now limits the use of studded tires from October through April. They must be removed for the rest of the year.
The new law, previously HB1170, won widespread support in the Legislature. It allows truckers and other drivers to keep the special tires on all year. Rep. Tim Rave, R-Baltic, said the change makes sense because retractable studded tires are now available.
The new rule takes effect July 1.
Two other bills focused on improving safety on roads weren’t as fortunate. The first bill sought to permit parents to become driver-education teachers for their children. The only requirement would have been that the parents be “good” drivers.
Sponsored by Rep. Manny Steele, R-Sioux Falls, the measure – HB1153 – failed to advance from the House prior to a deadline. The bill would have prohibited parents from being certified driver-education teachers if they had lost their driving privileges within the past year. Conviction of drug or alcohol offenses also would have excluded them.
Prospective drivers would have been required to receive 30 hours of classroom instruction from their parents and 55 hours of behind-the-wheel training.
Completion of the driver-training requirement would allow students to advance from a learner’s permit to a less-restrictive minor’s permit in 90 days, instead of the usual six months.
A separate bill that also failed to meet a deadline to advance was intended to increase the use of seat belts on roadways throughout the state. South Dakota law requires all front-seat occupants of motor vehicles to buckle up. Children younger than 18 must wear seat belts no matter where they are seated in vehicles.
Violating the child provision in the law is a primary offense resulting in $20 fines. The “primary” distinction allows law enforcement officers to pull over drivers without another reason.
Sponsored by Rep. Joni Cutler, R-Sioux Falls, the bill – HB1197 – would have required seat belts for all occupants in motor vehicles, regardless of age.
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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor