Snowmobile Rules & Regulations
South Dakota has several rules and regulations that pertain to snowmobiling. These rules were established for a number of reasons including the protection of those who enjoy our sport. Park rangers routinely patrol South Dakota's groomed trail system to provide law enforcement and safety.
Snowmobile operators* must immediately report an accident to a law enforcement officer if the accident:
- Is on public lands, frozen public waters or any private lands leased for public snowmobile use
- Results in damage to a snowmobile or other property in excess of $1,000
- Results in death or injury requiring medical attention to any person
*If the operator of the snowmobile is physically incapable of filing a report, then someone acting for him/her must file.
No person shall operate a snowmobile upon private land without permission from the owner or lessee of the land. This provision does not apply to snowmobiles operating in public road rights-of-way.
No person may operate a snowmobile in the following manner:
- At a speed that is greater than is reasonable or prudent
- In any reckless way as to endanger another person or property
- Without a functioning muffler
There is no age limitation for the operation of a snowmobile. However, no person under the age of fourteen may drive a snowmobile across a roadway except under the immediate direction of a parent, legal guardian, or person who is eighteen years of age or older. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
Interstate Highways and Railroads
Snowmobiles may not be operated upon or across an interstate highway, except that it may cross in the ditch of an underpass or on the extreme right of an overpass. Snowmobiles may not be operated upon any railroad right-of-way, unless directly crossing after stopping and yielding the right-of-way to approaching railroad traffic.
Operation in Ditches
Properly registered and licensed snowmobiles may operate in either right or left-hand ditches when traveling along designated state snowmobile trails. In other ditches, not designated as state snowmobile trails, snowmobiles may only be operated in the right hand ditch.
Firearms / Wildlife
No person (other than a law enforcement officer) may operate or ride on any snowmobile with any firearm in his possession, unless the firearm is completely unloaded and within a carrying case which encloses the entire firearm. No person may chase, drive, harass, kill or attempt to kill any game animal or game bird with or from a snowmobile.
Snowmobilers must provide evidence of financial responsibility (liability insurance) if requested by a law enforcement officer, as a secondary action when the driver is detained for another offense.