South Dakota Considers Mud Flap Law

A bill requiring mud flaps on vehicles weighing 10,000 lbs. or more passed out of committee and now heads for a vote before the full South Dakota House of Representatives on February 15.

According to South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Representative David Kull introduced House Bill 1212 to require large vehicles to have mud flaps due to the high cost of windshield replacements.

Mud flaps hang behind the wheel of a vehicle to prevent water, mud, and stones thrown up from the road from hitting following vehicles.

“One individual I recently talked to about this bill told me that he had experienced a significant rock chip and cracked windshield, which needed to be replaced for $1,000, and insurance did not cover that,” Kull says.

“Will mud flaps reduce rock chips to zero? Not,” he says. “But they should reduce a large number, which is good for our motoring public and constituents.”

Republican Representative Liz May questioned the need for the bill, saying no data supported Kull’s assertion. “I think that our law enforcement has enough on their plate; I do not think this bill is necessary,” May says.

The South Dakota Trucking Association and the South Dakota Auto Dealers Association support the bill’s passage.

H.B. 1212 says, “Any truck, trailer, semitrailer, or dump truck having a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more operated on a public highway or road must be equipped with wheel flaps or other suitable protection above and behind the rearmost wheels of the vehicle to prevent, as far as practicable, the wheels from throwing dirt, water, or other materials on the windshield of a following vehicle.”

The requirement does not apply to farm implements or noncommercial vehicles used exclusively for transporting agricultural products.

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