Speeding doesn’t add points against driversLaw was changed in 1986 when Janklow was SD’s governor and states were pushing back against federally imposed 55 mph speed limit.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
Bill Janklow may have a heavy foot, judging from his extensive record of speeding tickets, but he need not fear an automatic suspension of his driver’s license for repeated speeding offenses.
Speeding is not a violation that adds points against a person’s South Dakota driving record. Other driving offenses, including drunken driving, reckless driving and even driving too slow, do add points, but speeding is a points-free offense under state law.
The state law regarding points for speeding was loosened beginning in 1986, during Janklow’s second term as governor. That year, Senate Bill 204 either stopped assessing points for any speeding below 65 mph or removed speeding as a points-related offense altogether.
The Daily Republic was not able to immediately determine which was the case, but officials with the state Department of Public Safety and the Legislative Research Council both pointed to the 1986 change as the one that was likely responsible for the current no-points-for-speeding law.
State Sen. Mary McClure, a Republican from Redfield, was the prime sponsor of the 1986 bill, according to the Legislative Research Council. Janklow signed the bill into law on March 17, 1986.
Janklow was unavailable for comment Tuesday afternoon, but his son and legal partner Russ Janklow said the law change was part of a national effort to skirt the federally mandated 55 mph speed limit.
North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota were among at least 33 states looking into reducing penalties and points for speeding tickets at the time in response to the federal government’s national maximum 55 mph speed law, which had been in place since 1974 and was finally modified in 1987 and 1988. South Dakota had reduced speeding fines in 1985.
Jerry Baum, then the director of the South Dakota Highway Patrol, said at the time, “Why must I have a trooper stationed on an interstate, at 10 in the morning, worried about a guy driving 60 mph on a system designed to be traveled at 70? He could be out on a Friday night watching for drunken drivers.”
Under the current points system, if a driver in South Dakota totals 15 points in a 12-month period or 22 points in a 24-month period, there is a 60-day suspension of the driver’s license. Driving under suspension can add another 60 days and tacks two more points onto the driver’s total.
The second time a person compiles the points to cause a suspension, it is for six months and all subsequent suspensions are for one year, according to South Dakota Driver Licensing Program Director Cindy Gerber.
South Dakota’s point system ranges from two points for offenses such as not stopping for a railroad crossing and failing to stop for a school bus, all the way up to eight points for reckless driving and 10 points for driving under the influence, with numerous infractions and point totals between the low and high extremes.
Gerber said while those and other driving infractions can cause a license suspension or revocation, there are other legal issues that can cause such action by the state.
“There’s a lot of reasons a person can have a driver’s license suspended,” she said, including an unpaid fine, underage alcohol violations and other infractions.
Under state law, the secretary of public safety may also choose to revoke a driver’s license if a driver is a repeat offender.
South Dakota Codified Law 32-12-49 says, in part, “The secretary of the Department of Public Safety may suspend, revoke or cancel the driving privilege or license of a person (who) … [a]ppears by the records of the department to be an habitually reckless or negligent operator of a motor vehicle or to have repeatedly violated any of the state traffic laws.”
Circuit Court Judge Rodney Steele ordered that Janklow surrender his driver’s license for three years, from January 2004 to January 2007, after he was sentenced on convictions of failure to stop at a stop sign, speeding, reckless driving and second-degree manslaughter.
The former four-term governor, who was then a member of the U.S. House, was charged after the Aug. 16, 2003, collision in rural Moody County that killed Randolph “Randy” Scott, a Hardwick, Minn., man who was riding on his motorcycle when it collided with Janklow’s vehicle.
Janklow blamed a diabetic reaction caused by not eating for several hours for his failure to stop at a stop sign.
Janklow was injured in the crash. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and, after a highprofile trial that included supportive testimony on his behalf by then-Sen. Tom Daschle, Janklow was convicted of all four offenses.
While his driving record is extensive — a report provided by the state Unified Judicial System showing his tickets since 1989 is nine pages long — Janklow has continued to drive above posted speed limits.
Following are the four citations he has received since he regained his driving privileges in 2007. In all four cases, the officer reported that Janklow was driving faster than he was cited for at the time.
• March 3, 2008: Janklow was charged with speeding for going 55 mph in a 50 mph zone. He pleaded guilty and was fined $15 and ordered to pay $54 in costs.
• Oct. 9, 2008: Janklow was cited for going 45 mph in a 35 mph zone in Sioux Falls. He pleaded guilty and was fined $39 and ordered to pay $51 in costs.
• Feb. 27, 2010: Janklow was cited for going 80 mph in a 65 mph zone on a highway. He pleaded guilty and was fined $56 and ordered to pay $54 in costs.
• June 27, 2011: Janklow was cited for going 80 mph in a 65 mph zone. He pleaded guilty and was fined $59 and ordered to pay $66 in costs.