South Dakota speeders could face new deterrent

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/4/2012

A South Dakota lawmaker wants to up the ante for people caught speeding on roadways in the state.

Rep. Steve Hickey, R-Sioux Falls, is expected to file a bill for consideration during the upcoming session that would add speeding tickets to the system that gives drivers points on their records for moving violations. Too many points and the worst repeat offenders would have their license suspended.

South Dakota law now adds points to licenses for certain traffic offenses. However, since the mid ’80s points are not attached to speeding violations.

Caught driving under the influence will get offenders 10 points, and reckless driving will net eight points while improper passing results in four points.

The points system results in license suspension for South Dakota drivers who accumulate 15 points in 12 months, or 22 points in 24 months.

Hickey’s plan is expected to add three points to licenses for exceeding the speed limit in excess of 20 mph on interstates. Speeding on other roads by more than 10 mph could also result in three points.

Driving 16-20 mph in excess of the posted limit on interstates could result in two points added to offender’s licenses. Speeding on other roads between 6-10 mph over the limit could also result in two points.

Speeding on roads other than interstates up to 5 mph over the posted limit could bring a one-point penalty. No points would be added for speeding by up to 15 mph on interstates, though offenders would still be responsible for existing fines.

Critics point out that fines and penalties for exceeding the speed limit typically exceed $100. They say the hit to offenders’ pocketbooks is a sufficient deterrent.

Supporters say it does not make sense to exclude speeding from the points system. They reason that penalty points could help discourage the worst of the worst offenders who continue to speed despite their tickets.

The bill could be considered during the regular session that begins Jan. 10.

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