School Resource Officer Hendrix helps clarify rules of the road

Dawn Rye | Writer 

With warmer weather on the horizon and school now out for summer, School Resource Officer (SRO) Deputy Colter Hendrix assisted The New Era with reminders to new and experienced drivers in the community.

With the help of Hendrix, several laws have been broken down along with their explanation. Below, find law information for young drivers, the Move Over Law, Seat belts and curfew restrictions for minors. All responses were provided by Hendrix.

Q: As the SRO, what do you see at the school with new drivers with restricted minors permits? Do you see/ticket kids breaking the law with having non family members in their vehicle before their six months is concluded? What is the punishment/fee for this?

A: New drivers tend to be cautious. It’s a trend I hope to see continue. In the handful of times that I have spoken to new drivers about problems with their driving, I find they are receptive and usually correct the behavior. The punishment for this is a ticket for $122.50. Upon conviction, the driver will be submitted to the Department of Public Safety for review.

A restricted minor’s permit entitles the holder, while having the permit in immediate physical possession, to operate a motor vehicle during the hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. standard time if the motor vehicle is being operated with the permission of the holder’s parent or guardian and during the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. if the motor vehicle is being operated under the direction of the holder’s parent or guardian who is occupying a seat beside the holder. The restrictions as to time of operation do not apply to the holder of a valid restricted minor’s permit who is:

(1)    Operating a self-propelled agricultural machine that is not subject to registration under chapter 32-5;

(2)    Operating a motor vehicle while traveling the most direct route to or from school or a school event;

(3)    Operating a motor vehicle while traveling the most direct route to or from any religious worship service or meeting held by a religious organization; or

(4)    Operating a motor vehicle while traveling the most direct route to, from, or in connection with any job, employment, or farm-related work.

No holder of a restricted minor’s permit may operate a motor vehicle carrying any passenger other than a member of the driver’s immediate family or members of the driver’s household during the first six months of holding a restricted minor’s permit. After the first six months the holder of a restricted minor’s permit is limited to no more than one passenger under the age of 18 years who is not:

(1)A member of the permit holder’s immediate family; or

(2)A person whose primary residence is the same household as the permit holder’s.

The provisions of this section do not apply if the permit holder is accompanied by a parent or guardian or any passenger who is at least eighteen years of age and has one year of driving experience and whose primary residence is the same household as the restricted minor’s permit holder.

If a driver is 16 years or younger and they receive any traffic infraction, including the restriction on their permit, they will lose their license for 30 days or more. Most fines start at $132.50 for license infractions.

Q: Move Over Law | As an officer, what would you tell residents of Turner County and surrounding communities about the importance of moving over?

A: In SD, drivers are required to move over when passing a stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights. They need to slow down to 20 miles per hour beneath the speed limit or half of the speed limit if the limit is 40 mph or less. They should also pass in the furthest lane possible as long as doing so is safe. I find that distracted motorists play a significant role in on-duty injuries of emergency responders. Drivers need to pay attention to the road instead of trying to see what happened.

Q: Seat belt law: Prior to the seat belt law going into effect in 1994, South Dakota had one of the lowest safety belt usage rates in the US. As the SRO, do you see more students wearing their seat belt than not? Adults? 

A: Most students use their seatbelts. I find it uncommon for a driver, adult or juvenile, to be operating a vehicle without a seatbelt outside of town. While seatbelt usage is necessary any time when driving, a lot of people in Turner County subscribe to the practice of only using their seatbelts when they plan to leave town. This is not ideal but a significant improvement from years ago.

Q: Curfew for minors | What is the punishment/fee for a curfew violation? There are numerous people that believe if the minor isn’t causing any problems, a curfew ticket wouldn’t be issued. If you suspect a person to be under 18 past 11 p.m., is that person subject to an identification check by police?

A: The fine for a curfew violation is $100. If a deputy reasonably suspects a person to be underage and out past curfew, he may start an investigatory detention of the person until identification is made, thereby either proving or disproving the age of the person.

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