South Dakota Neon Underglow Laws

Adding neon underglow lights to your vehicle is a popular way to express your unique style and make your car stand out on South Dakota’s open roads. However, it’s crucial to understand the specific regulations governing neon underglow lights in the state to ensure both your safety and compliance with the law. In this blog post, we’ll dive into South Dakota’s neon underglow laws, what’s allowed, what’s not, and how you can enjoy these vibrant additions to your vehicle responsibly.

Is neon underglow legal in South Dakota?

South Dakota’s regulations do not impose restrictions on aftermarket vehicle lighting, including neon underglow. As a result, our assessment is that neon underglow is generally considered legal in South Dakota, provided that the following restrictions are adhered to:

  1. Red lights should not be visible from the front of your car.
  2. Blue lights are illegal for use.
  3. License plate illumination must be white.
  4. While flashing lights are not expressly forbidden in South Dakota, we strongly recommend avoiding them. Flashing, rotating, or oscillating lights may distract other drivers and could be subject to other laws.
  5. Avoid the use of blue-colored vehicle lighting. We also strongly advise against using any combination of lights with red, as it might give the appearance of an emergency vehicle.
  6. Green lights, even when steady-burning, are typically reserved for emergency vehicles in South Dakota. Therefore, it’s advisable to avoid this color if possible.
  7. There are no specific South Dakota laws that explicitly restrict or prohibit the installation of car underglow, making it generally legal for use while driving.

South Dakota vehicle lighting laws

Here are the pertinent excerpts from the South Dakota Vehicle Code that specify regulations governing the installation of specific aftermarket lights on vehicles.

32-17-9. Red lights on front of vehicle prohibited

Except for any authorized emergency vehicle as defined by § 32-14-1, any person who drives or moves any vehicle upon a highway with any red light thereon visible from directly in front thereof, is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

32-17-11. Registration plate illumination

Either the rear lamps required by § 32-17-8 or a separate lamp shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear registration plate […] A violation of this section is a petty offense.

32-17-42. Lights on emergency vehicles

Any motor vehicle operated by a member of an organized fire department or organized search and rescue unit or by a person who is an ambulance driver, attendant, or emergency medical technician affiliated with a licensed ambulance service may be equipped with flashing blue lights displayed to the front or a blue rotating beacon light or strobe light or both to be visible 360 degrees. […]

No person may use a light authorized in this section unless the person is actually en route to the scene of a fire or other emergency requiring the person’s services and the person has been authorized in writing to so use a blue light. The authorization may be given by the chief of the fire department, coordinator of the search and rescue unit, or operator or ambulance service director of the ambulance service only to members of the department or service who are in good standing.

The unauthorized use of a blue light in violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

32-17-44. Command post vehicle to be equipped with green light.

Any vehicle used as a command post at the site of any accident or emergency incident involving any hazard may be equipped with one green rotating beacon light to be visible 360 degrees.

32-17-45. Red and blue lights authorized for law enforcement officers.

Any law enforcement officer may operate a police vehicle with a combination of red lights as provided by § 32-31-4 and blue lights as described in § 32-17-42.

South Dakota Neon Underglow Laws: The Essentials

South Dakota’s laws regarding neon underglow lights aim to strike a balance between individual expression and road safety. Here are the key points to consider:

  1. Permissible Colors: In South Dakota, neon underglow lights are generally legal, but the law prohibits the use of red or blue lights. These colors are typically reserved for emergency and law enforcement vehicles. Any other color, such as white, green, amber, or purple, is generally acceptable.
  2. Placement: The law specifies that neon underglow lights should be installed on the sides of the vehicle and not visible from the front of the vehicle. They should not obstruct the driver’s view of the road.
  3. Flashing Lights: Flashing or oscillating neon underglow lights are not allowed on public roads. Steady, non-flashing lights are generally acceptable, provided they comply with color and placement restrictions.
  4. Distraction: Neon underglow lights should not be excessively bright or distracting, as they can impair other drivers’ vision or pose a hazard on the road.

Penalties for Violations

Violating South Dakota’s neon underglow laws can lead to penalties, including fines or warnings from law enforcement. To avoid legal issues, it’s essential to follow the regulations carefully.

Exhibiting red lights in front of the vehicle constitutes a Class 2 misdemeanor, as does the use of blue lights. Operating a vehicle with a registration plate that is either not illuminated or illuminated with a color other than white is considered a petty offense.

Stay Informed

Laws and regulations may change over time, so it’s advisable to consult up-to-date sources, such as the South Dakota Department of Public Safety or local law enforcement, for the most current information.

Safety Considerations

While neon underglow lights can enhance the aesthetics of your vehicle, safety should always be a top priority. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when using neon underglow lights in South Dakota:

  1. Responsible Usage: Use neon underglow lights responsibly, especially in residential areas, and avoid overusing them to prevent disturbances.
  2. Regular Maintenance: Ensure that your neon lights are in good working condition and securely attached to your vehicle to prevent accidents or light malfunctions.
  3. Environmental Awareness: Be considerate of the environment and other drivers. Adjust the brightness and usage of your neon lights to avoid causing distractions or discomfort to fellow road users.


Customizing your vehicle with neon underglow lights in South Dakota can be a creative way to express your personality and style. However, it’s crucial to understand and adhere to the state’s laws and regulations to avoid legal troubles and ensure road safety. By following the permissible colors, placement restrictions, and other rules, you can enjoy your neon underglow lights while staying within the bounds of the law. Remember that laws can change, so it’s advisable to stay informed and consult up-to-date sources for the latest regulations in South Dakota.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Underglow Lights in South Dakota:

Are Underglow Lights Legal in South Dakota?

  • Neon underglow lights are generally legal in South Dakota, subject to specific regulations and restrictions.

When Is It Legal to Use Underglow Lights in South Dakota State?

  • It is legal to use neon underglow lights in South Dakota when they comply with the state’s regulations, including permissible colors and placement restrictions.

When Is It Illegal to Use Underglow Lights In South Dakota?

  • Using multicolored neon underglow lights, especially red or blue, is generally illegal in South Dakota. These colors are typically reserved for emergency and law enforcement vehicles. Violating these restrictions may result in legal consequences.

Is It Illegal to Install Underglow Lights In South Dakota?

  • Installing neon underglow lights in South Dakota is not explicitly illegal, provided they adhere to the permissible colors and placement regulations outlined in state law.

What South Dakota Vehicle & Traffic Law Restricts Use of Lights On Motorcycles?

  • The same South Dakota Vehicle & Traffic Law restrictions that apply to cars also apply to motorcycles regarding neon underglow lights. These regulations are consistent for both cars and motorcycles.

Are Multicolored Underglow Lights Illegal in South Dakota?

  • Yes, using multicolored neon underglow lights, especially red and blue, is generally illegal in South Dakota. The state typically allows only specific colors.

South Dakota Traffic Ticket/Summons for Under Glow Lights on a Motorcycle

  • Violating the neon underglow restrictions in South Dakota may lead to receiving a traffic ticket or summons.

Are Under Glow Lights Legal While Parked in South Dakota?

  • Neon underglow lights are generally legal for use on a parked vehicle in South Dakota as long as they adhere to state regulations.

Are Motorcycle Wheel Lights Legal in South Dakota?

  • The legality of motorcycle wheel lights in South Dakota is subject to the same regulations as underglow lights on other vehicles.

Is the Law for Underglow Lights the Same for Cars and Motorcycles in South Dakota?

  • Yes, the same laws and regulations regarding underglow lights apply to both cars and motorcycles in South Dakota.

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