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Average Car Insurance PremiumsFluctuating above and below the national average for several years, South Carolina’s premiums as a percentage of income finished off 2008 .2 percent above the national average. Census.gov, however, reported the nation’s average premiums just above the state’s by 38 points.
Drunk Driving FatalitiesAt 41 percent, South Carolina’s drunk driving fatalities rose steadily between 2010 and 2012. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the state’s percentage had continued to rise as the national average leveled off to 31 percent.
Teen Drinking and Driving11.7 percent of South Carolina’s teens were found to drink and drive in 2011, according to the Center for Disease Control. With the national average at 10.1 percent, the state surpassed the national average by 1.6 percent.
Vehicular Theft in South CarolinaDeclining moderately in 2012, the FBI reported that South Carolina’s auto theft rate ended at 279.5. With the national average dropping slightly in 2012, the state’s rate was still 50 points over the nation’s.
Walking along a meandering boardwalk through Paris Island State Park, one must stay on the trail to enjoy the beauty around. South Carolina’s driving laws and regulations take similar care, so all the important facts from all over the state have been brought here to help South Carolinians find their way through the forest of driving laws and regulations.
Minimum Requirements for Car Insurance in South Carolina
- The South Carolina Department of Insurance has made it mandatory to insure vehicles with Liability Insurance.
- Liability minimums:
- $25,000 for each person injured.
- $50,000 for each injury accident.
- $25,000 for each accident in which property is damaged.
New Driver Licensing Requirements
- South Carolina’s DMV informs its new residents they have 90 days to obtain a state driver’s license from the date of residency. Drivers transferring a valid out-of-state license must surrender their license and take the vision test to hold a South Carolina License. The state has 3 steps for new drivers who wish to have driving experience prior to getting their license:
- Beginner Permit. The most common type of this permit, and the following licenses, is the Class D Drivers License.
- Conditional License for 15 year old drivers
- Special Restricted License for 16 year old drivers
- A helpful brochure that outlines the underage driver license process in detail can be found at the South Carolina DMV’s website.
- Beginner Permit. Drivers wishing to hold this permit must follow these guidelines:
- The applicant must have reached the age of 15 and have passed the vision and knowledge tests. More information on these tests is included below.
- If under 18 years old, the applicant must have a parent or legal guardian’s consent.
- Restrictions applied while holding this permit include:
- The permit holder may drive between 6am and midnight only if a licensed driver age 21 or older who has held a license for at least 2 years is with him/her.
- The applicant may drive during the restricted times only if a parent or legal guardian occupies the front seat next to him/her.
- If under 17, a driver education course must be successfully completed
- If under 18, the applicant must log 40 hours of driving with 10 night time driving hours included.
- The permit must be held for a minimum of 180 days.
- Conditional License (15 Year Old Drivers). After meeting the requirements for the permit, applicants may pass the road skills test and qualify for the Conditional License. This license is restricted in the following ways:
- The applicant may drive alone between 6am and 6pm.
- Driving between 6pm and 6am requires the presence of a licensed driver age 21 or older.
- The driver may not transport more than 2 unrelated passengers under age 21.
- Special Restricted License (Age 16): This license is available once the applicant turns 16 and has held the conditional license for 180 days. The only difference is that the applicant may request an exemption from the driving time restrictions. For information on exemptions, refer to the SCDMV website.
- Once all the requirements are met and the applicant has turned at least 17 years old, application can be made for the regular South Carolina Driver License.
- Vision Screening. No visual field limits are outlined, and applicants must demonstrate at least a 20/40 visual acuity with or without corrective lenses to pass. South Carolina offers multiple restrictions for varying visual acuities.
- Knowledge Test. A practice test is available at the SCDMV’s website, and the information for the test is taken from the South Carolina Driver’s Manual. The manual is available online by chapter. Driving knowledge as well as an understanding of traffic signs, rules and markings is needed to pass the test.
- Road Test. Access the chapter titled Cars: The Road Test in the driver’s manual for a complete explanation of the following skills tested in this exam:
- Parallel Parking
- Stopping Smoothly and Stopping at Stop Signs
- Turning Around
- Proper Clutching if applicable
- Approaching Corners
- Yielding the Right of Way
- Stopping and Starting on Grades
- Maintaining Good Posture
- Failing the road test results in a 2-week waiting period before becoming eligible to re-take the exam. Upon the third failure, the waiting period is extended to 60 days.
- Fees. The following fees are included for every driver:
- Knowledge Test: $2.00
- Beginner’s Permit: $2.50
- Driver’s License valid for 5 years: $12.50
- Driver’s License valid for 10 years: $25.00
- BAC limit: .08 South Carolina Law (SCCLS § 56-5) provides strict punishment for DUI convictions in the state. South Carolina Department of Public Safety has created a DUI prevention program entitled Sober or Slammer, and the website clearly explains the consequences of a DUI conviction in the state.
- First Offense:
- Jail: 48 hours to 30 days
- Fine: maximum $400 (assessments and surcharges often reach $992 which is payable by the driver)
- License suspension: 6 months
- Second Offense:
- Jail: 5 days to 12 months
- License suspension: 1 year
- Fine: $2,100 to $5,100 (assessments and surcharges often reach $10,744 which is payable by the driver)
- Third Offense:
- Jail: 60 days to 3 years
- License suspension: 2 years
- Fine: $3,800 to $6,300 (assessments and surcharges often reach $13,234 which is payable by the driver
- Upon a fourth or subsequent offense, the driver’s license suffers a permanent revocation and 1 to 5 years imprisonment.