Q: Does South Carolina law require me to wear a seatbelt as the
driver or the passenger of a motor vehicle?
A: Yes it does. Both driver and passenger(s) are required to wear
seatbelts at all times while the vehicle is in use on public
highways. Due to a recent change in the seatbelt law, you can
now be stopped by law enforcement officers and charged with a
violation without having violated any other traffic laws. An
exception to the seatbelt law is granted to any motor vehicle
manufactured prior to July, 1966.
Q: What are the child restraint laws in South Carolina?
A: Every driver of a motor vehicle ( passenger car, pickup truck,
van, or recreational vehicle) operated on the highways and
streets of this State when transporting a child five years of age or
younger upon the public streets and highways of the State must
provide an appropriate child passenger restraint system and must
secure the child as follows:
(1) A child for birth to one year of age or who weighs less than 20
pounds must be properly secured in a rear-facing child restraint
seat. If at all possible, do not place children less than one year of
age in the front seating and avoid placing the child restraint seat
in the deployment path of your vehicle's secondary restraint
system (air bags).
(2) A child who is at least one year of age or who weighs at least
twenty pounds but less than forty pounds must be secured in a
forward-facing child restraint seat.
(3) A child who is at least one year of age but less than six years
of age and who weighs at least forty pounds but not more than
eighty pounds must be secured by a belt-positioning booster
seat. The belt-positioning booster seat must be used with both
lap and shoulder belts. A booster seat must not be used with a
lap belt alone.
(4) If a child is at least one year of age but less than six years of
age and weighs more than eighty pounds, the child may be
restrained in an adult safety belt. If a child less than six years of
age can sit with his back straight against the vehicle seat back
cushion, with his knees bent over the vehicle seat edge without
slouching, the child may be seated in the regular back seat and
secured by an adult safety belt.
(5) A child who is less than six years of age must not occupy the
front passenger seat of a motor vehicle. This restriction does not
apply if the motor vehicle does not have rear passenger seats or
if all rear passenger seats are occupied by other children less
than six years of age.
**Any child restraint system of a type sufficient to meet the
physical standards prescribed by the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration at the time of its manufacture is sufficient
to meet the requirements of this law.
Q: Am I required to wear a protective helmet while riding a
motorcycle in South Carolina?
A: Any person who is under twenty-one years of age must wear a
DOT approved protective helmet while operating a motorcycle on
public streets and highways in this State. This law applies to both
driver and passenger. A protective helmet is optional for persons
twenty-one years of age or older.
Q: Can I operate a golf cart on public streets and highways in
A: Yes. If the golf cart's owner has a valid driver's license, he/she
may obtain a permit from the SC Dept. of Motor Vehicles upon
payment of a fee of five dollars and proof of insurance. This
permits the owner, his agent, or employees to:
(1) operate the golf cart on a secondary highway or street within
two miles of his residence or place of business during daylight
hours only; and
(2) cross a primary highway or street while traveling along a
secondary highway or street within two miles of his residence or
place of business during daylight hours only.
Q: Am I required to maintain insurance on vehicles that I drive in
A: Yes. All vehicles registered in the State of South Carolina
must maintain a minimum of liability coverage at all times.
Q: How long do I have to register a vehicle that I have purchased?
A: The SC Dept. of Motor Vehicles allows a forty-five day grace
period from the date of purchase until registration must be
Q: How long do I have to register my vehicles after moving to
South Carolina from another state?
A: The SC Dept. of Motor Vehicles allows a forty-five day grace
period from the date that your address changed until registration
must be completed.
Q: How long do I have to update my information with the SC Dept.
of Motor Vehicles after I have a change of address?
A: Ten days
Q: Can I ride my children in the open bed of my pickup truck or
A: It is unlawful to transport a person under fifteen years of age in
the open bed or open cargo area of a pickup truck or trailer. An
open bed or open cargo area is a bed or cargo area without
permanent overhead restraining construction.
The above law does not apply when:
(1) an adult is present in the bed or cargo area of the vehicle and
is supervising the child;
(2)the child is secured or restrained by a seat belt manufactured
in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No.
208, installed to support a load of not less than five thousand
pounds for each belt, and of a type approved by the SC Dept. of
(3) an emergency situation exists;
(4) the vehicle is being operated in an organized hayride or
parade pursuant to a valid permit;
(5) the vehicle is being operated while hunting or in an agricultural
(6) the vehicle is being operated in a county which has no
incorporated with a population greater than three thousand five
(7) the vehicle has a closed metal tailgate and is being operated
less than thirty-six miles an hour.
Q: If I carry a firearm in my vehicle, how does it have to be
A: A handgun may be carried loaded but must be kept secure in a
closed glove compartment, closed console, or closed trunk. The
law in this State does not mandate the compartments remain
Q: How does an individual obtain a permit to carry a concealed
weapon in South Carolina?
A: Applications may be obtained from your county sheriff's
office. Applicants must complete the required paperwork which
includes fingerprints and a photograph, a minimum of eight hours
of firearms training from an instructor certified by the South
Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), and submit an
application fee of fifty dollars to SLED. Once your application is
received by SLED, a background check will be completed and
your request for a concealed weapon permit will either be granted
or denied within ninety days.