What You Need to Know About Seatbelt Violations in South Carolina
In South Carolina, all drivers and passengers riding in a motor vehicle being driven on public streets and highways must wear a seatbelt. Additionally, the driver of any vehicle is required to make sure that any occupants in his or her vehicle under the age of 17 are wearing a seatbelt or secured in a child restraint system. However, a driver who has occupants in his or her vehicle who are over the age of 17-years-old is not responsible for these passengers wearing their seatbelts.
When the Law Does Not Apply
Although all drivers in South Carolina are required to follow the state’s seatbelt law, there are situations where this law does not apply. For example, this law does not apply in cases where:
- Either a driver or an occupant of a vehicle possesses written verification from a health care provider that he or she cannot wear a seatbelt for medical or physical reasons
- A daycare, church or school bus is being used for transportation purposes
- A person is riding in a public transportation vehicle
- A driver is operating a vehicle that was not originally equipped with seatbelts
Additionally, this law does not apply in situations where all of the seatbelts in a vehicle are being used by other occupants and there are no other seatbelts available.
Primary and Secondary Offenses
In December of 2005, South Carolina’s seatbelt law was changed from a secondary offense to a primary offense. Under the old guidelines, law enforcement officials could only cite drivers for not wearing their seatbelt if they were already pulled over for committing another type of traffic violation. However, now that not wearing a seatbelt is considered a primary offense, law enforcement officials can pull drivers over on the sole basis that they are not wearing a seatbelt.
Fines for Not Wearing a Seatbelt
Drivers who receive a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt can be fined for themselves as well as any passengers under the age of 17 in the vehicle who were not wearing a seatbelt or using proper child safety restraints. Drivers who are ticketed for this offense may also be cited for other violations depending on the circumstances of their situation. Those who are facing the consequences associated with allegedly violating the state’s seatbelt law, or any other traffic law, may have concerns about how they will be affected both financially and legally. In this situation, drivers can reach out to the attorneys at Nosal & Jeter, LLP to receive legal guidance and direction.