South Carolina

ARTICLE 11.

 

RESTRICTIONS ON SPEED; RACING

SECTION 56-5-1520. General rules as to maximum speed limits; lower speeds may be required.

(A) A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. Speed must be so controlled to avoid colliding with a person, vehicle, or other conveyance on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of a person to use care.

(B) Except when a special hazard exists that requires lower speed for compliance with subsection (A), the limits specified in this section or established as hereinafter authorized are maximum lawful speeds, and a person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed in excess of these maximum limits:

(1) seventy miles an hour on the interstate highway system and other freeways where official signs giving notice of this speed are posted;

(2) sixty miles an hour on multilane divided primary highways where official signs giving notice of this speed limit are posted;

(3) fifty-five miles an hour in other locations or on other sections of highways and unpaved roads are limited to the speed of forty miles an hour; and

(4) manufactured, modular, or mobile homes must not be transported at a speed in excess of ten miles below the maximum posted speed limit when the maximum posted speed limit is in excess of forty-five miles an hour, and never in excess of fifty-five miles an hour.

(C) Thirty miles an hour is the maximum speed in an urban district. “Urban district” means the territory contiguous to and including any street which is built up with structures devoted to business, industry, or dwelling houses situated at intervals of less than one hundred feet for a distance of a quarter of a mile or more.

(D) A local authority on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation may determine that the maximum speed limit permitted under this article is less than thirty miles an hour in an urban district. If this determination is made, the maximum speed limit for the urban district is enforceable by all law enforcement officers authorized to enforce the traffic laws in the urban district. However, this subsection does not apply to highways within the state highway system contained in Section 56-5-1530.

(E) The maximum speed limits set forth in this section may be altered pursuant to Sections 56-5-1530 and 56-5-1540.

(F) The driver of a vehicle shall drive, consistent with the requirements of subsection (A), at an appropriate reduced speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railway grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, approaching a hillcrest, when traveling upon any narrow bridge, narrow or winding roadway, and when special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.

(G) A person violating the speed limits established by this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction for a first offense, must be fined or imprisoned as follows:

(1) in excess of the above posted limit but not in excess of ten miles an hour by a fine of not less than fifteen dollars nor more than twenty-five dollars;

(2) in excess of ten miles an hour but less than fifteen miles an hour above the posted limit by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than fifty dollars;

(3) in excess of fifteen miles an hour but less than twenty-five miles an hour above the posted limit by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than seventy-five dollars; and

(4) in excess of twenty-five miles an hour above the posted limit by a fine of not less than seventy-five dollars nor more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days.

(H) A citation for violating the speed limits issued by any authorized officer must note on it the rate of speed for which the citation is issued.

(I) In expending the funds credited to the state general fund from fines generated under subsection (G), the Department of Public Safety first shall consider the need for additional highway patrolmen.

SECTION 56-5-1530. Alteration of speed limits on State highway system by Department of Transportation; signs.

(a) Establishing speed zones. Whenever the Department of Transportation shall determine upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that any maximum speed hereinbefore set forth is greater or less than is reasonable or safe under the conditions found to exist at any intersection or other place or upon any part of the state highway system, the Department of Transportation may determine and declare a reasonable and safe maximum limit thereat, which shall be effective when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected. Such maximum speed limit may be declared to be effective at all times or at such times as are indicated upon such signs; and differing limits may be established for different times of day, different types of vehicles, varying weather conditions, and other factors bearing on safe speeds, which shall be effective when posted upon appropriate fixed or variable signs.

(b) Setting maximum limits in state highway extensions in urban districts. The Department of Transportation shall determine the proper maximum speed for all state primary highway extensions into and through urban districts and shall declare a reasonable and safe maximum speed limit thereon which may be greater or less than the maximum speed otherwise permitted under this article for an urban district and such maximum speed limits shall be effective at all times during hours of darkness and at other times as may be determined when appropriate official signs giving notice thereof are erected upon such street or highway.

SECTION 56-5-1535. Speeding prohibited in highway work zones; penalties; terms; application; signs.

(A) It is unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle in a highway work zone at a speed in excess of the speed limit set and posted by signs. A person violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than seventy-five nor more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

(B) A “highway work zone” is the area between the first sign that informs motorists of the existence of the work zone on the highway and the last sign that informs motorists of the end of the work zone.

(C) The penalty imposed by this section applies only:

(1) if a sign is posted at the beginning of the active work zone that states “WORK ZONE $200 FINE AND 30 DAYS IMPRISONMENT FOR SPEEDING”;

(2) to the area between the posted sign and the “END CONSTRUCTION” sign. Signs may be posted at the discretion of the Department of Transportation in the highway work zones designed to comply with work zone traffic control standards contained in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices published by the Federal Highway Administration.

SECTION 56-5-1536. Driving in a temporary work zone; penalty.

(A) A temporary work zone area is an area on a roadway identified by orange work zone signs or equipment with flashing lights, and the presence of workers on the scene.

(B) A temporary work zone is a special hazard.

(C) The driver of a vehicle shall keep his vehicle under control when approaching or passing a temporary work zone area. The exercise of control required for a driver to comply with this section is that control possible and necessary by the driver to avoid a collision, and to avoid injury to persons or property.

(D) A person driving a vehicle approaching a temporary work zone area shall proceed with due caution, significantly reduce the speed of the vehicle, and:

(1) yield the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the authorized temporary work vehicle or equipment, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions, if on a highway having at least four lanes with not less than two lanes proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle; or

(2) maintain a safe speed for road conditions, if changing lanes is impossible or unsafe.

(E) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of the misdemeanor of endangering temporary work zone personnel and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than three hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars.

SECTION 56-5-1538. Emergency scene management; definitions

(A) An emergency scene is a location designated by the potential need to provide emergency medical care and is identified by emergency vehicles with flashing lights, rescue equipment, or emergency personnel on the scene.

(B) An emergency scene is a special hazard.

(C) An emergency scene is under the authority of the first arriving emergency personnel, which includes emergency medical services personnel, until the arrival of the fire or law enforcement officials having jurisdiction. All motor vehicles passing through an emergency scene and pedestrians observing an emergency scene must obey and not interfere with the duties of emergency personnel. Motor vehicles and bystanders may not block access to or exit from an emergency scene.

(D) The management authority of emergency medical services is limited to managing patient care and preventing further injury to the patients and on-scene personnel. This authority may be delegated by emergency personnel to provide an adequate level of safety.

(E) A paid or volunteer worker at an emergency scene has proper authority to be at and control the scene in a manner consistent with his training.

(F) The driver of a vehicle shall ensure that the vehicle is kept under control when approaching or passing an emergency scene or authorized emergency vehicle stopped on or near the right-of-way of a street or highway with emergency lights flashing. The exercise of control required for a driver to comply with this section is that control possible and necessary by the driver to prevent a collision, to prevent injury to persons or property, and to avoid interference with the performance of emergency duties by emergency personnel.

(G) A person driving a vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is giving a signal by displaying alternately flashing red, red and white, blue, or red and blue lights, or amber or yellow warning lights shall proceed with due caution, significantly reduce the speed of the vehicle, and:

(1) yield the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the authorized emergency vehicle, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions, if on a highway having at least four lanes with not less than two lanes proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle; or

(2) maintain a safe speed for road conditions, if changing lanes is impossible or unsafe.

(H) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of the misdemeanor of endangering emergency services personnel and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than three hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars.

(I) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Authorized emergency vehicle” means any ambulance, police, fire, rescue, recovery, or towing vehicle authorized by this State, county, or municipality to respond to a traffic incident.

(2) “Emergency services personnel” means fire, police, or emergency medical services personnel (EMS) responding to an emergency incident.

SECTION 56-5-1540. Alteration of speed limits by local authorities; signs; approval by Department of Transportation.

(a) Establishing speed zones. Whenever local authorities in their respective jurisdictions determine on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that the maximum speed permitted under this article is greater or less than is reasonable and safe under the conditions found to exist upon a highway or part of a highway, the local authority may determine and declare a reasonable and safe maximum limit thereon which:

(1) decreases the limit at intersections; or

(2) increases the limit within an urban district but not to more than seventy miles an hour; or

(3) decreases the limit outside an urban district, but not to less than thirty-five miles an hour.

(b) Setting maximum limits on arterial streets. Local authorities in their respective jurisdictions shall determine by an engineering and traffic investigation the proper maximum speed for all arterial streets and shall declare a reasonable and safe maximum limit thereon which may be greater or less than the maximum speed permitted under this article for an urban district.

(c) Signs. Any altered limit established as hereinabove authorized is effective at all times or during hours of darkness or at other times as may be determined when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected upon the street or highway.

(d) Approval of altered limits by Department of Transportation. Any alteration of maximum limits on state highways or extensions thereof in a municipality by local authorities is not effective until the alteration has been approved by the Department of Transportation.

(e) Limitations on alterations. Not more than six such alterations as authorized above may be made for each mile along a street or highway, except in the case of reduced limits at intersections, and the difference between adjacent limits must not be more than ten miles an hour.

SECTION 56-5-1550. Speed limitation on motor-driven cycles.

No person shall operate any motor-driven cycle at any time mentioned in Section 56-5-4450 at a speed greater than thirty-five miles per hour unless such motor-driven cycle is equipped with head lamps which are adequate to reveal a person or vehicle at a distance of three hundred feet ahead.

SECTION 56-5-1555. Speed limitation on mopeds.

No person may operate a moped at a speed in excess of twenty-five miles an hour. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days.

SECTION 56-5-1560. Minimum speed limits.

(a) Impeding traffic by slow speed prohibited. –No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

(b) Establishing minimum speed zones; signs. Whenever the Department of Transportation or local authorities within their respective jurisdictions determine on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that slow speeds on any part of a highway consistently impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, the Department of Transportation or local authority may determine and declare a minimum speed limit below which no person shall drive a vehicle except when necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law, when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected along the part of the highway for which a minimum speed limit is established. Also any minimum speed limit adopted by a municipality for a section of the state highway within the municipality shall not be effective until such minimum speed has been approved by the Department of Transportation.

SECTION 56-5-1570. Special speed limitations for certain vehicles and places.

(a) Vehicles towing house trailers. –No person shall drive a vehicle which is towing a house trailer at a speed greater than a maximum of forty-five miles per hour.

(b) Vehicles with solid rubber or cushion tires. –No person shall drive any vehicle equipped with solid rubber or cushion tires at a speed greater than a maximum of ten miles per hour.

(c) On elevated structures; safe speed not to be exceeded. –No person shall drive a vehicle over any bridge or other elevated structure constituting a part of a highway at a speed which is greater than the maximum speed which can be maintained with safety to such bridge or structure, when such structure is signposted as provided in this section.

(d) Same; establishing safe maximum limit. The Department of Transportation upon request from any local authority shall, or upon its own initiative may, conduct an investigation of any bridge or other elevated structure constituting a part of a highway, and if it finds that such structure cannot with safety to itself withstand vehicles traveling at the speed otherwise permissible under this chapter, the Department of Transportation shall determine and declare the maximum speed of vehicles which such structure can safely withstand, and shall cause or permit suitable signs stating such maximum speed to be erected and maintained before each end of such structure.

(e) Same; proof of limit and signs conclusive evidence of safe speed. Upon the trial of any person charged with a violation of this section, proof of determination of the maximum speed by the Department of Transportation and the existence of such signs shall constitute conclusive evidence of the maximum speed which can be maintained with safety to such bridge or structure.

SECTION 56-5-1580. Contents of complaint and summons or notice to appear charging speeding.

In every charge of violation of any speed regulation in this article, the complaint and summons or notice to appear shall specify the speed at which the defendant is alleged to have driven and the maximum speed applicable within the district or at the location.

SECTION 56-5-1590. Unlawful to race or assist in racing on public roads.

It shall be unlawful to engage in a motor vehicle race or contest for speed on any public road, street or highway in this State or to aid, abet or assist in any manner whatsoever in any such race or contest. Altering, changing, tampering with or “souping up” a motor vehicle for the purpose of racing or speeding on any public road, street or highway in this State shall be considered as aiding, abetting or assisting for the purposes of Sections 56-5-1590 to 56-5-1620.

SECTION 56-5-1600. Unlawful to acquiesce in or permit use of car in race.

It shall also be unlawful for any owner of a motor vehicle to acquiesce in or permit his car to be used by another in any motor vehicle race or contest for speed on any public road, street or highway in this State.

SECTION 56-5-1610. “Acquiescence” defined.

For the purpose of Sections 56-5-1590 to 56-5-1620, the word “acquiescence” shall mean actual knowledge that the car was to be used for the purpose of racing on a public road, street or highway.

SECTION 56-5-1620. Penalties for racing; revocation or suspension of drivers’ licenses and registrations.

Any person violating the provisions of Sections 56-5-1590 to 56-5-1620 by driving a motor vehicle shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than two hundred dollars nor more than six hundred dollars or imprisoned for not less than two months nor more than six months, or both, in the discretion of the trial judge. In addition to such penalty the driver of any vehicle who violates the provisions of Sections 56-5-1590 to 56-5-1620 shall upon conviction, entry of a plea of guilty or forfeiture of bail have his driver’s license revoked for a period of one year. Any person violating the provisions of Sections 56-5-1590 to 56-5-1620 by acquiescing in or permitting the driving of his car shall, upon conviction, be fined not to exceed one hundred dollars or imprisoned for a period not to exceed thirty days, or both, in the discretion of the court and, in addition thereto, shall have his driver’s license and the registration of his vehicle suspended for a period of three months.