Study Says South Dakota Is the Easiest State to Get a Drivers License. Is That True?
We like easy in our lives, don't we?
But sometimes easy isn't always better.
Take driving for instance. Do you want to be sharing the road with people who had to work a bit to be qualified to be behind the wheel? Or do you want to be driving 80 miles an hour down the Interstate with a bunch of people who had to do just the bare minimum to be licensed?
Well like it or not, the latter describes South Dakota, which has been proclaimed as the easiest state in America to get a drivers license.
According to the firm Sigfried and Jensen, residents of the Mount Rushmore State have the lowest overall difficulty in getting licensed to drive.
They factored in four components to come up with an overall difficulty score - the need for a learner permit, the cost of getting the license, the written test, and the road test.
According to the study, South Dakota is one of 29 states that do not require a learner permit for drivers under the age of 18.
That's not 100 percent accurate though because the state has instruction permits for drivers beginning at age 14, meaning they must be accompanied by a licensed adult driver from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM. That permit lasts for a minimum of 180 days or 90 days if an approved driver’s education class has been successfully completed.
After that young South Dakota drivers move on to a Restricted Minor's Permit, which allows teens to drive unaccompanied from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
At age 16 drivers can then obtain an unrestricted drivers license in South Dakota.
The other item of dispute in the study is the cost of getting a license in South Dakota. The study claims the cost is nine dollars but the state's Department of Public Safety website has the cost at $28. Only eight states have a higher fee.
As for the written test to get a license, South Dakota is in line with the majority of states which require 80 percent or more to pass.
The one area of the licensing process that puts South Dakota into the 'easy' category is the road test. According to the study, the Mount Rushmore State only requires six elements in the road test (4 separate maneuvers and 2 vehicle control maneuvers). That is by far the lowest number of any state. Some states, like Washington, require 19.
Overall, South Dakota's difficulty score is 42 out of 100. That puts us with three other states (Ohio, New York, and Arkansas) at under 50.
On the other end of the spectrum, only three states have a ranking of 75 or higher - Washington (80), Massachusetts (77), and Maryland (75).