South Carolina Motorist Info

The following information is updated periodically. However, laws and regulations can change between updates. State statutes and local ordinances are the ultimate authorities for these issues.

Points of Interest

  • South Carolina requires that you have your headlights on whenever you are using your windshield wipers.
  • Valid out of state permits to carry concealable weapons held by a resident of a reciprocal state must be honored.

Speed Limits

Rural Interstates: Cars 70, Trucks 70
Urban Interstates: Cars 70 (60 on specified segments), Trucks 70 (60 on specified segments)
Other Limited Access Roads: Cars 60, Trucks 60

These speed limits apply unless a different limit is posted.

Speed limits are absolute–exceeding the speed limit is illegal per se (regardless of whether it was safe under the specific conditions).

Speed Limits Enforcement Techniques
Enforced through use of:
Pacing: Yes
Radar: Yes
Vascar: Yes
Automated Speed Enforcement: No
Aircraft: No
Laser: Yes

Ticket Payment Methods
Consult your ticket or clerk of courts

Trial By Declaration Allowed

Allowed with provisions

Jury Trial Allowed
Speeding: Yes
Parking: Yes
Equipment: Yes
DWI: Yes

Member of Nonresident Compact

Member of Driver License Compact

When and Where to File Accident Reports
Accidents involving death, personal injury, or property damage exceeding $1,000 must be reported immediately to the local authorities and within 15 days to the Department of Public Safety, P.O. Box 1498, Columbia, SC 29216-0001.

Resident Insurance Requirements
Liability insurance is required (although some states allow posting a cash bond or such as an alternative)
Minimum Coverage Required:
Injury to one person: $25,000
All injuries: $50,000
Property Damage: $25,000
Uninsured motorist coverage is required

Phone/Texting Restrictions
Hand-Held Ban: No
All Cell Phone Ban: No
Texting Ban: All drivers
Enforcement: Primary

Other Regulations

  • Open intoxicants are prohibited in the vehicle.
  • The BAC level is .08%.
  • South Carolina does not have an administrative license suspension law, but does have an implied consent law. The breathalyzer refusal penalty is a 90-day driver’s license suspension.
  • Loaded handguns may be carried in a closed glove compartment; rifles and shotguns may be loaded while in the trunk or passenger area with some exceptions.
  • Studded tires are permitted in snow and ice conditions.
  • Tire chains are not required.
  • South Carolina has a seat belt law with secondary enforcement for all front seat occupants and for all rear seat occupants if the vehicle is equipped with shoulder straps.
  • South Carolina has a mandatory child restraint law for passengers under 6 years of age. Adult safety belt may be used for children ages 4-6 in the front seat and 1-6 in rear seat.
  • South Carolina has a mandatory motorcycle helmet law for persons under 21 years of age.
  • Registration and insurance card must be carried in the vehicle.

General Information
Telephone: 803/896-5000 (Department of Motor Vehicles)
Emergency Cellular Phone Number: *HP (47)
SC Drivers Handbook, practice permit test, and driver’s ed course