The South Dakota Department of Public Safety administers the various driver’s licensing and testing programs throughout the state. Individuals interested in getting work as a truck, bus or other commercial driver generally need to get a South Dakota CDL license. The process includes both knowledge and skills tests. The DPS provides a manual to assist drivers in preparing for the tests. The state issues learner’s permits after an applicant passes the knowledge test and a full commercial driver’s license after passage of the hands-on skills test.
Visit a local South Dakota DPS driver license office to get a copy of the South Dakota CDL manual. You may also access the “South Dakota Commercial Driver License Manual” online at Dps.sd.gov/licensing/driver_licensing/documents/2005CDLDRIVERMANUALJuly2009FINAL2.pdf.
Download and print out the CDL medical examination form at Fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/forms/649f.pdf. Schedule a doctor’s visit and get the doctor to examine you and fill out the medical certificate. Take that certificate with you when visiting the DPS for testing and licensing.
Supplement your study of the South Dakota CDL manual with online CDL study guides and practice tests. You can easily find free or low-cost study materials for the commercial driver’s license test by searching for them with an online search engine. Study the manual first and then get practice and reinforcement with the online resources.
Go to a South Dakota DPS licensing office and take the knowledge test. When you pass this test and all endorsements, you can receive a South Dakota CDL permit for training and driving on the state’s roads and highways.
Find a good resource for South Dakota CDL training. Examples include school districts for school-bus training, passenger-bus companies for bus-driver training and truck driver training schools for tractors and trailers. You should contact local South Dakota school districts and companies like Greyhound (see their website) for bus training. You can take recommendations from local truck drivers or trucking companies or use the Professional Truck Driver Institute to find trucking schools. PTDI has a list at Ptdi.org/schools/schools.aspx.
Schedule a skills test through the local South Dakota DPS license office or a third-party tester. The advantage of a third-party tester is that they often supply the vehicle for you for skills and driving testing. If you schedule with the DPS directly, you need to find your own vehicle (renting or borrowing one from a school, employer or rental service). Get a list of third-party CDL testers at Dps.sd.gov/licensing/driver_licensing/third_party_testers.aspx. Once you pass the skills test, the DPS will give you your South Dakota CDL license.
Note: Those seeking to get a HAZMAT endorsement as part of their commercial driver’s license need to pass a criminal background check. The federal government requires this of all states and provides an application form at Hazprints.com.
South Dakota CDL Manual
PTDI List of Certified Truck Driver Training Programs