Driver License Requirements

All farmers are required to have a valid Driver License for the vehicle they are driving. If a vehicle requires the driver to hold a Commercial Driver License (CDL), the driver (including farmers) must have a CDL with the proper class and endorsements attached. However, farmers who operate a Covered Farm Vehicle within the size and geographic limitations are not required to have a CDL. Chapter 8: COMMERCIAL DRIVER LICENSE provides complete information on CDL requirements.

Seasonal CDL

Drivers who are seasonal employees of a farm-related service industry—such as custom harvesters, farm retail outlet suppliers, agrichemical business, and livestock feeders—are eligible for a Restricted Commercial Driver License. Applicants for the Restricted CDL must have a good driving record for the two most recent years and must have held a valid Driver License (not including instruction permits or restricted permits) for one year. If these requirements are met, all knowledge and skill testing to obtain this Restricted CDL are waived. A Restricted CDL allows operation of only Class B and C Commercial vehicles within 150 miles of the place of business or farm being served. Operators may not drive vehicles carrying placarded quantities of hazardous materials, except for:

  • liquid fertilizers or plant nutrients in vehicles or implements of husbandry with total capacities of 3,000 gallons or less;
  • solid fertilizers or plant nutrients not transported with any organic substance; and
  • diesel fuel in quantities of 1,000 gallons or less.

A Restricted CDL is valid for one 180-day period or two 90-day periods within the calendar year.

International Driver Licenses

Custom harvesters’ employees from foreign jurisdictions who operate commercial motor vehicles must have a valid CDL issued from a jurisdiction within the United States, Canada, or Mexico. International driver licenses are not honored as valid CDLs. To obtain a Commercial Driver License in South Dakota, foreign drivers must present a passport, visa, social security card, proof of South Dakota residence, and completed driver license application form (available at the driver exam station) to the driver license examiner.