A Guide Through the SC Seatbelt Laws
Are you a South Carolina resident or a passer-by? If you don’t want to pay the price for driving around unbelted, you need to know what seatbelt rules you must follow.
Not only are the safety belt regulations different in every state, but they also change from time to time.
If you want to know what the current SC seatbelt laws are, you are at the right place. DoNotPay will give you an update on all rules and outcomes regarding seatbelt use—including:
- Who needs to wear a seatbelt
- What the child seatbelt laws are
- How much the fine costs
- Whether you can get demerit points and an increased insurance rate
- How you can fight a wrongfully issued ticket
All motor vehicle occupants—including the driver, front and backseat passengers—must wear a fastened safety belt. Drivers will need to pay the fine if any passengers under the age of 17 are unbelted. This won’t apply if the occupants under 17 have their driver’s license.
SC had secondary seatbelt law enforcement in the past, but this changed in 2005. Now, the enforcement is primary, meaning that the police officer can pull you over to issue a seatbelt ticket even if there is no other reason to detain you.
The law doesn’t apply to the following:
- People who have a physician’s certificate with a valid medical reason for not wearing a seatbelt
- Occupants in school, church, or daycare busses
- People in public transportation vehicles—taxis excluded
- Passengers who don’t have a seatbelt in the back because all available ones are occupied
- Drivers or passengers in cars that are manufactured without safety belts
Child safety seats can reduce the chance of fatal injuries in children under the age of five by 71% and the need for hospitalization by 69%. South Carolina has strict laws regarding children’s safety in the car—which you can review in the table below:
|Appropriate Child Passenger Restraint System
|Up to one year of age
|Less than 20 pounds
|Rear-facing child safety seat
|Up to six years of age
|Front-facing safety seat
|Up to six years of age
|Belt-positioning booster seat with lap and shoulder belts on
|Older than one year
|More than 80 pounds
Children who are five years old or younger can only sit in the back seat of the vehicle. It is recommended that children stay in the rear of the car until they are 13.
The safety seat must meet the standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The parents also need to follow the seat manufacturer’s height and weight recommendations.
The fine for the first seatbelt offense for both drivers and passengers is $25. If you make multiple violations, the cost can go up to $50. There are no other charges—such as court costs.
SC takes children’s safety seriously, and the fines reflect that. Violating the child seatbelt law comes with a much higher price—a $150 fine.
The authorities in South Carolina don’t consider not wearing a seatbelt a moving violation. If you do get a ticket, this won’t affect your:
- Driving record
- Penalty points
- Insurance costs
If you already have a seatbelt ticket in your pocket, you can choose to:
If you are thinking about turning a blind eye to the citation, know that there will be consequences. The court might issue a bench warrant for your arrest—depending on the court and the amount. There is also a possibility of paying additional fees or even getting the license suspended.
In case you believe that the officer was wrong to write you a ticket, contest the citation. You have the right to do so if you can present:
- Reasonable doubt—The law enforcement officer didn’t notice that you were wearing a seatbelt
- Due diligence defense—The law enforcement officer ticketed you unjustly as you had a valid reason not to buckle up—such as an emergency or driving in reverse
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Get your defense put together in a wink by doing the following:
- Search for the Seatbelt Ticket feature
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