The Rules for Texting and Driving in South Carolina

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Texting while driving is illegal in South Carolina, although the consequences for
distracted driving
aren’t as severe here as they are in other states. Drivers are allowed to use handheld devices and cell phones while driving in the Palmetto State.
It’s never a good idea to take your eyes off the road while driving. Some states, like South Carolina, have instituted a complete ban on texting while driving. There are consequences for breaking this law—but there are also some exceptions.
Here’s everything you need to know about the laws, penalties, and exceptions for texting and driving in South Carolina. 
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What are the texting and driving laws in South Carolina?

There is only one rule in the law books of South Carolina regarding the use of electronic devices while driving: no driver may use a handheld device to read, write, or send a text or email while driving. GPS usage and phone calls are legal.
In this state, distracted drivers cause thousands of car accidents every year. 
South Carolina specifically warns against these distracting activities behind the wheel:
  • Texting
  • Cell phone use
  • Eating
  • Grooming 
Of these, sending a text message or email on a hand-held device presents the highest risk because it distracts your eyes, hands, and brain. That’s why hands-free devices and heads-up displays are the safest options for preventing driving accidents.

What are the penalties for texting and driving in South Carolina?

If you are caught breaking the distracted driving laws in South Carolina, you will be fined $25.
This is a fairly low fee compared with the penalties in neighboring states. In Georgia, text-based communication while driving carries a $50 fine for a first offense. In North Carolina, the fine for sending an instant message is $100 for a first offense.
You will not face jail time and you will not lose your license if you text and drive in South Carolina. However, causing a collision while texting could be a criminal offense—especially if you are charged with something more severe like
reckless driving
drunk driving
If you were driving without insurance, you’ll face additional penalties for breaking
South Carolina’s car insurance laws

Are there exceptions to South Carolina’s texting and driving law?

Yes, there are several notable exceptions. 
In the state of South Carolina, it is permissible for motorists to use a communication device to make phone calls to contact emergency assistance. Public safety workers can text while carrying out their official duties. You are also allowed to use your phone to participate in a digital dispatch system while inside a motor vehicle. 
Additionally, you can legally check your phone once you have lawfully parked or come to a complete stop.
Drivers are allowed to use a navigation device like a GPS system, too. As long as the driver has an unobstructed view of the road, these types of communication devices are road legal.

Are there special rules for texting and driving for young drivers?

No. Lawmakers in South Carolina have made no special laws for youth drivers. The texting and driving laws apply to all drivers in this state, including adults and drivers under 18.

Can texting and driving raise my insurance premium?

Yes. Whether you live in Charleston or Columbia, your car insurance premium could rise if you get a
ticket for distracted driving
. Insurance companies look at your
driving record
to help calculate your premium—drivers with a major violation or multiple minor violations on their records will likely see their rates increase. 
Driving safely will save you money on car insurance, especially if your insurance provider offers a
safe driver discount
brought my insurance deductible down from $2.5k to $1k without me having to switch companies. I even had a ticket on my record. If it can help me, Jerry will definitely help you save money.” —Maxwell N.
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No. If a police officer catches you texting and driving, you’ll have to pay a $25 fine—but no jail time.
Despite South Carolina’s modest consequences, texting and driving is incredibly dangerous. You could injure yourself or others, or even cause a fatal crash. It only takes a split second to lose control.

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