Safety Laws in South Carolina
While riding in a vehicle, children under the age of six need to be properly restrained by an approved child safety seat.
However, additional conditions apply:
- Children under the age of one or weighing less than 20 pounds must be in a rear-facing child safety seat.
- Children over 1 year old but under 6 years old, weighing at least 20 pounds but under 40 pounds, must be in a forward-facing child safety seat.
- Children over 1 year old but under 6 years old, weighing over 40 pounds (up to 80 pounds), must be in a belt-positioning booster seat.
- Regardless of age, children weighing over 80 pounds or those who can can sit erect against the car seat and bend their legs over the seat's edge are not required to be in a booster seat.
In general, children under six years old cannot ride in the front seat. But, this stipulation is waived if the vehicle doesn't have a back seat, or if the back seat is occupied by other children under the age of six.
If you're in the market for one, you can shop online for a child car seat any time of day. Before ordering, make sure to read our How to Buy a Child Safety Seat article.
To ensure a safety seat has been properly installed, visit an Office of Highway Safety fitting station. For more information, call (877) 349-7187.
With a few exceptions, everyone riding in a vehicle is required to wear a properly-fastened safety belt.
A police officer has the right to pull over a vehicle just because a rider was clearly observed not wearing a seat belt.
Drivers are responsible for ensuring that all passengers 17 years old and younger are properly secured. But, passengers 17 years old and younger who have their own driver's license, special restricted license, or beginner's permit, are responsible for their own conduct.
Drivers can be fined up to $25 per violation, up to a total of $50 per traffic stop. However, no points will be assessed for the offense.
Currently, there are no statewide restrictions on cell phone use or texting.
Anyone under the age of 21 riding on a motorcycle must wear a helmet and wear protective goggles or a face shield.
South Carolina doesn't have any statewide rules specifically addressing the issue of leaving children unattended in a vehicle. However, deliberately endangering a child is against the law.
Use common sense and know that children (or pets) left are subject to getting ill or dying from the temperature (hot or cold), kidnapping, and getting out of their seats and into mischief. If you see a child locked in a car in a dangerous situation, call 911 and stay with the car. It's always better to be safe than sorry.Other Topics in This Section
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- Traffic Alerts
- 511 Traffic Systems
- Tire Recalls
- Safety Laws
- How Emotions Affect Driving
- Driving in Hazardous Conditions
- Teen Drivers: A Beginner's Guide
- Seniors: When To Turn Over The Car Keys
- Packing Your First-Aid Kit
- Seven Senior Safety Suggestions
- Wildlife on the Road
- When to Call Wildlife Rescue
- Taking A Mature Driver Course
- Medications & Driving
- Night Driving
- Hallucinations on the Road
- How To Drive Distraction Free
- Treating Motion Sickness
- Road Rage: How To Deal With It
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