Following is an overview of the laws, limits, and fines as they relate to speeding traffic violations in the state of South Carolina.

Speed limits in South Carolina

70 mph: rural interstates

60 mph: urban interstates

60 mph: four-lane arterials

55 mph: four-lane bypasses (except Marion and Sumter), and most two-lane roads

40 mph: unpaved roads

35 mph: maximum speed in urban areas

30 mph: central business districts (some posted at 25 mph)

30 mph: maximum speed in residential areas

South Carolina code on reasonable and prudent speed

Maximum speed law:

According to section 56-5-1520 of SC vehicle code, “No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.”

Minimum speed law:

Sections 56-5-1560(a) and 56-5-1810(b) states:

“No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”

“A person driving at less than the normal speed of traffic shall drive in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.”

Due to variations in speedometer calibration, tire size, and margins of error in speed-detecting technology, it’s uncommon for an officer to pull a driver over for going less than five miles above the speed limit. However, technically any amount over can be considered a speed violation so best practices are to stay within the limit.

While it may be difficult to fight a speeding ticket in South Carolina due to the absolute speed limit law, a driver may choose to go to court and claim their innocence based upon one of the following:

  • The driver may oppose the determination of speed. In order to claim this defense a driver must know how his or her speed was determined and then learn how to disprove its accuracy.

  • A driver may claim that an emergency situation caused the driver to break the speed limit in order to prevent injury or damage to themselves or others.

  • The driver may claim a case of mistaken identity. If a police officer clocks a driver speeding and subsequently has to find them again in traffic, it’s possible that they could have made a mistake and pulled the wrong car over.

Penalty for exceeding the speed limit in South Carolina

First-time violators may:

  • Be fined up to $445

  • Be sentenced to up to 30 days of jail time

  • Have their license suspended for up to three to six months

Penalty for reckless driving in South Carolina

Exceeding the speed limit by 25 mph is automatically considered reckless driving in this state.

First-time violators may:

  • Be fined up to $445

  • Be sentenced to up to 30 days of jail time

  • Have their license suspended for up to three to six months

Violators may be required to attend defensive driving courses and may be able to reduce the points applied to their driving record by doing so.

This article originally appeared on as South Carolina Speed Limits, Laws, and Fines and was authored by Valerie Johnston.

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