Does South Dakota Require Vehicle Inspections?

Car owners around the United States have to deal with inspections. Some states won’t let you register your vehicle until it has been inspected. Making sense of the rules and regulations around state vehicle inspections can be complicated and confusing. Does South Dakota require vehicle inspections? See what The Mount Rushmore State does to keep drivers safe on the road.


Joseph Anthony
June 10, 2020
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Does South Dakota require vehicle inspections? In a word, no. The state of South Dakota does not require inspection for vehicle registration. While most states require vehicle emissions testing or other inspections, vehicles registered in South Dakota are exempt. 

What States Require Vehicle Safety Inspections?

South Dakota is not among the states that require vehicle safety inspections. If you own or are trying to register a vehicle in the following states, you’ll need to plan a periodic visit to a licensed inspection station:

  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Washington, DC.

You’ll also mind that Alabama and Maryland require inspections. These two states only require inspections when a car is sold.

States that do not require vehicle inspections include:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota

You’ll find this list doesn’t add up to 50. This is because some states do not require vehicle inspections, but certain counties or cities within the state do require inspection. Take Florida for example. Drivers in Ocala, Florida, in Marion County, won’t have to have their vehicle inspected. However, a driver in Miami, Florida, in Miami Dade-County, will need to have vehicle emissions testing every year. 

Do Vehicle Inspections Mean Lower Insurance Rates?

You might think that vehicle inspections lead to lower insurance rates for drivers. However, this isn’t the case. South Dakota drivers are exempt from state inspection and enjoy some of the lowest insurance rates in the country.

According to reports from financial gurus, a typical South Dakota driver shells out just over $100 a month for car insurance. This figure is about 11% lower than the national average. South Dakota drivers keep insurance money in their pockets even though there is no inspection required.

You’ll find that location isn’t the only factor that determines insurance rates. Age, gender, marital status, credit history and driving record all play a role in your rate, too. Even with the other factors in mind, South Dakota drivers still pay less. An average driver in their 50s and 60s in South Dakota will pay about $1,000 per year on their auto insurance. The same driver in New Jersey, a state that requires drivers to have cars inspected, might pay around $1,500 a year.

For many drivers, this means that required emissions and safety inspections for motor vehicles simply don’t add up to insurance savings.

Do Vehicle Inspections Lead to Fewer Accidents?

Overall, safety inspections don’t play a major role in highway safety and traffic fatalities.

Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that Texas, a state that requires vehicle inspection, saw 3,305 fatal car crashes in 2018. South Dakota, which does not require inspection, only saw 110 traffic-related fatalities in 2018. You might argue that Texas has more deaths because there are more drivers on the road. When you compare the numbers of fatal accidents between South Dakota and Delaware, which have similar populations, the two states saw similar numbers of traffic fatalities. This might indicate that the inspections in Delaware don’t really play a role in preventing traffic deaths.

Do Vehicle Inspections Improve Air Quality?

South Dakota does not require vehicle inspections. This means car emissions aren’t monitored by the state. Even with this in mind, you’ll find that South Dakota enjoys good air quality in much of the state. In fact, Brown County, SD, earned an A-rating for air quality from the American Lung Association in 2017. 

Even though South Dakota does not require vehicle inspections, those who live here breathe easy.

Does South Dakota Require Vehicle Inspections for Commercial Vehicles?

Commercial vehicles entering South Dakota won’t have to undergo safety or emissions testing to get a license plate or be registered in the state. 

However, you’ll find that commercial vehicles entering the state via highway might be subject to inspection at a port of entry. South Dakota as 4 ports of entry for commercial vehicles:

  • Jefferson (I-29 MP 13)
  • Sioux Falls (I-90 MP 412)
  • Sisseton (I-29 MP 235)
  • Tilford (I-90 MP 39

At these ports, motor carrier inspectors might double check a carrier’s permits, paperwork and other documents. This inspection can ensure everything is in order, according to information from the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

Register Your Vehicle in South Dakota and Avoid Inspection

There are many benefits to registering your vehicle in South Dakota. From low insurance rates to no required inspections, it might make sense for you to register your vehicle in the Mount Rushmore State.

If you need a permanent address in South Dakota to register your vehicle and service as your home base, you can count on Americas Mailbox. When you join forces with Americas Mailbox, you can establish a permanent address to register your vehicle no matter where you are. This might make sense for you if you are a full-time RVer, an expat living abroad, a military member shipping overseas or a digital nomad living life on the road. 

Americas Mailbox makes it easy to register your vehicle in South Dakota. They’ll even help you with the required paperwork. Get a permanent address in the Mount Rushmore State and enjoy outstanding service that goes above and beyond with Americas Mailbox on your side.

Does South Dakota require vehicle inspection? No. The state makes it easy and hassle-free to register your vehicle. See how partnering with Americas Mailbox for a South Dakota address will make vehicle registration a simple process.

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