South Carolina Traffic Laws – 8 Laws You Must Know About

South Carolina Traffic Laws - 8 Laws You Must Know About

There are so many South Carolina traffic laws. 

It can be hard to keep up with them all – especially the lesser-known ones. 

Well, we want to help as much as we can. 

And to do that, we’re going to talk about 8 laws you must know about.

We’ll go over what the law says, then we’ll tell you the penalty for breaking that law. 

With this, you’ll be more aware of them and be a better and safer driver…

Oh and yes, you’ll avoid those annoying tickets and penalties, too. 

So let’s dive right in!

8 Traffic Laws in South Carolina

Here are the 8 South Carolina traffic laws we’ll be looking at:

  • Littering law
  • Cell phone laws
  • Seat belt law
  • Car seat laws
  • Loading law
  • School bus law
  • Parking laws
  • Move-over law

Let’s look at each one in detail. 

South Carolina Littering Law

Littering is against the law in South Carolina.

The State of South Carolina encourages drivers to have a small container in their vehicle. They can put candy wrappers, paper cups, and other items they want to dispose of there.

Not only will this help you keep your vehicle clean, but it also avoids you from throwing items from your window. 

Throwing trash along roadways and highways can result in hefty fines. 

At the very least, you’ll have to pay anywhere between $50 to $100. 

However, if your litter exceeds 15 pounds or 27 cubic feet, the amount increases to $200. 

You may also have to serve up to 30 days in jail or complete 8 to 16 hours of litter cleanup.

And that’s just for your first or second conviction. 

Subsequent violations may result in a $500 fine or a maximum of 30 days in jail. You may also spend 24 hours along the roadside, picking up litter.

South Carolina Cell Phone Laws

In South Carolina, the law on cell phone use is simple — you can’t use a cell phone when driving a vehicle. 

That said, you CAN use your mobile phone if it has hands-free features (this is still not allowed for those below 18 years old). 

Remember, cell phones are HUGE distractions. In turn, it may lead to crashes resulting in injuries or, worse, death. 

If you are caught using your phone while driving, you must pay a $100 fine for your first offense. A second one results in a $200 fine and 2 points on your license.

South Carolina Seat Belt Law

In some states, only the driver, front passenger, and anyone below 18 years old is required to buckle up. 

That’s not the case in South Carolina. 

Here, EVERYONE, no matter the age or where you sit, MUST wear a seat belt. 

Yes, even if your vehicle has airbags, you must still put it on. 

More than that, wearing your seat belt under your arm or behind your back isn’t allowed. The harness should fall across your shoulder and chest. 

Plus, it shouldn’t have any slack. 

As for your lap belt, it should lie low on your hips and fit you snugly. 

In 2005, South Carolina began implementing its seat belt law with primary enforcement — a police officer can pull you over for that violation alone.

A violation doesn’t add any points to your license, but you must pay a $25 to $50 fine. It might seem small, but you’ll be surprised how quickly it can add up if you’re not careful.

South Carolina Car Seat Laws

What about children?

They certainly can’t fit into a seat belt. 

So, what should they use to keep them in place? 

A car seat. 

In South Carolina, children younger than 8 years old must be in a car seat. 

Now, you may have to use different seats depending on the child’s age.

Here’s a rundown of car seats and when you should use them:

Rear-Facing Car Seats are for infants and can typically last until they’re two years old (but don’t forget to check the seat’s height and weight limits to be sure). You must install these in the rear seats of your vehicle.
Front-Facing Car Seats are for children at least 2 to 4 years old (or if they’ve outgrown their rear-facing ones). These also go on the rear seats of your vehicle. 

Your child may continue using it until they outgrow the limits.
Booster Seats are for children who outgrew their front-facing car seats (typically when they’re 4 to 8 years old). 

You use your vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt to secure the booster seat to the rear seat of your car.
A child can use your vehicle’s seat belt if they are already 8 years old OR stands at 57 inches. 

If the seat belt doesn’t quite fit yet, continue using a booster seat for more safety. 

Like the seat belt law, car seats are also primary enforcement. 

The difference is the penalty fine is much higher at $150. 

You can read more about the South Carolina car seat and seat belt laws here.

South Carolina Loading Law

If you are transporting a load, you must ensure it’s secured properly

Otherwise, it may topple over, hit other vehicles on the road, and cause an accident.

Unsecured loads may also move around, causing your vehicle to become imbalanced. In turn, you may lose control of it.

Not only is driving with an unsecured load in South Carolina dangerous, but it’s also against the law. 

A conviction may result in a misdemeanor and a fine.

To avoid this situation, ensure you secure your load to your vehicle using rope, netting, or straps. You can also use a sturdy tarp to cover it entirely. 

Don’t forget to recheck everything before you begin driving.

Remember, South Carolina defines a load as transported property, which includes animals. That means this law applies to them too.

South Carolina School Bus Law

South Carolina Traffic Laws

You’re likely to share the road with a school bus in South Carolina. So, when you see it flashing its red or amber lights or extending its stop arm, you know it’s about to stop.

That means you’ll have to stop, too, if you’re on a two-lane road. Drivers on a four-road highway only need to stop if they’re following the school bus — those going in the opposite direction can continue moving.

What’s more, you cannot pass a stopped school bus (or even one preparing to stop).

However, the school bus law does not apply when:

  • The school bus is in a passenger loading zone, off the main travel lanes where pedestrians cannot cross.
  • You’re traveling in the opposite direction on a multi-lane highway.

Passing a stopped school bus results in the following penalties:

  • First Offense: A fine between $1,000 and $2,000 and at least 20 hours of community service.
  • Subsequent Offense: A fine between $2,500 and $5,000 and 30 days imprisonment or 30-day license suspension.

South Carolina Parking Laws

When parking in South Carolina, you must observe several laws. These are:

  • You can only park in a designated parking area. Look for a different location if a ‘No Parking’ sign is present.
  • Keep the distance between your vehicle and the curb to 18 inches max.
  • If you’re parking along the roadway, park as far from the traffic flow as possible.
  • Ensure your vehicle does not block the flow of traffic.
  • Vehicles with a disability placard or disability plates can only use disabled parking spots if the disabled person is operating or riding it.

As for the penalties, you will have to pay a traffic ticket. The cost will depend on where you are parking. 

South Carolina Move-Over Law

Besides school buses, you will also share the road with emergency vehicles. In these situations, South Carolina’s Move Over Law applies.

You must proceed with caution when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle. It means reducing your speed and yielding the right of way. You may have to carefully switch lanes. 

However, if a lane change is unsafe, continue moving but maintain a safe speed. 

The Wrap Up 

And those were the 8 South Carolina traffic laws you must know about. 

Remember, driving privileges come with many responsibilities. 

Ensuring you comply with South Carolina’s traffic laws is part of it.

Now that you’re more familiar with some of the laws, you’re in a better position to keep your driving record clean.

Stay safe!

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