South Carolina

Highway safety laws differ from state to state. The summary information here can be used to compare laws in specific categories. We monitor legislative changes and update this information as needed.

RESTRICTIONS ON CELLPHONE USE AND TEXTING
Hand-held ban no
Young drivers all cellphone ban no
Texting ban all drivers
Enforcement primary
MAXIMUM POSTED SPEED LIMITS
Rural interstates (mph) 70
Urban interstates (mph) 70
Other limited access roads (mph) 60
Other roads (mph) 55
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
To get a learners license you must:
Have a minimum age of 15
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Before getting a license or restricted license you must:
Have a mandatory holding period of 6 months
Have a minimum supervised driving time of 40 hours, 10 of which must be at night
Have a minimum age of 15, 6 months
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Restrictions during intermediate or restricted license stage:
Nighttime restrictions 6 p.m.-6 a.m. EST; 8 p.m.-6 a.m. EDT
Passenger restrictions

(family members excepted unless otherwise noted)
no more than 2 passengers younger than 21 unless transporting students to and from school
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Minimum age at which restrictions may be lifted:
Nighttime restrictions 12 months and age 17 if intermediate license has been held for at least 6 months (min. age: 16, 6 mos.)
Passenger restrictions 12 months and age 17 if intermediate license has been held for at least 6 months (min. age: 16, 6 mos.)
OLDER DRIVER LICENSE RENEWAL PROCEDURES
License renewal cycle
General population 10 years
Older population 5 years for people 65 and older
OLDER DRIVER LICENSE RENEWAL PROCEDURES
Proof of adequate vision required at renewal
General population every 5 years1
Older population every 5 years1
OLDER DRIVER LICENSE RENEWAL PROCEDURES
Mail or online renewal permitted
General population by mail, for 5 years, every other renewal
Older population by mail, for 5 years, every other renewal
CHILD RESTRAINTS
Must be in child restraint younger than 1 year or less than 20 pounds in a rear-facing child restraint; 1 through 5 years and 20-39 pounds in a forward-facing child restraint; 1 through 5 years and 40-80 pounds in a booster seat secured by lap-shoulder belt (lap belt alone is impermissible)
Adult safety belt permissible 1 through 5 years and 80+ pounds or any child 5 years and younger if the child's knees bend over the seat edge when sitting up straight with his/her back firmly against the seat back
Maximum fine 1st offense $150
Seating preference children 5 years and younger must be in rear seat if available
Children not covered all children covered
SAFETY BELT USE
Initial effective date 07/01/89
Standard enforcement? yes; effective 12/09/052
Who is covered? In what seats? 6+ years in all seats
Maximum fine 1st offense $25
Can nonuse decrease monetary awards for injuries in lawsuits? no
MOTORCYCLE HELMET USE
Motorcyclists covered 20 and younger
BICYCLE HELMET USE
Covered by state law no law
PICKUP TRUCKS: RESTRICTIONS ON RIDING IN CARGO AREAS
Restrictions on riding in cargo areas yes
Gaps in coverage people 15 and older; people 15 and younger when an adult is present; when the child is belted; parade; emergency situation; agricultural activities; hunting; vehicle has a secured metal tailgate and operated less than 36 mph; vehicle operated in county
LOW-SPEED VEHICLES
On which roads are low-speed vehicles permitted? roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less
What is the top speed permissible for low-speed vehicles? 25 mph

1S.C. Code Ann. § 56-1-220(B) states, "During the fifth year of a ten-year license, the licensee must submit by mail to the department a certificate from an ophthalmologist or optometrist licensed in any state or appear in person at a department office to complete a vision screening."

2Police are prohibited in South Carolina from enforcing safety belt laws at checkpoints designed for that purpose. However, safety belt violations may be issued at license and registration checkpoints to drivers cited for other offenses.