South Carolina Driver Licensing Law & Teen Driver Law

Obtaining a South Carolina Beginner's Permit

The Beginner's Permit in South Carolina allows 15-year-olds to begin practicing driving. Under the provisions of the permit, holders must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old, and they must sit beside the driver at all times.

To qualify for the permit, the applicant must:

  • Have parental consent
  • Visit the DMV with a completed application form, signed by a parent
  • Bring proof of identity, citizenship, and South Carolina residency
  • Bring their Social Security card
  • Provide proof of insurance
  • Pay a permit fee of $2.50 and a written test fee of $2

The applicant will be given a written knowledge and vision test. Once these tests are passed, the applicant will be awarded the Beginner's Permit. While holding the permit, the driver must complete 40 hours of behind-the-wheel supervised driving practice, including ten hours of night driving. Driving between 12AM and 6AM is prohibited.

South Carolina teens must hold the permit for six months.

Obtaining Conditional and Restricted Licenses

The intermediate level in South Carolina's Graduated Driving Program is split into two different licenses, depending on age. If a permit holder finishes his or her six-month requirement with a Beginner's Permit, they will be issued a Conditional License. If 16 or older, a Special Restricted License will be issued. The licenses are governed by the same requirements and restrictions.

Conditional and Restricted License applicants must have completed driver education and driving practice, and passed vision and driving skills tests. License holders may drive unsupervised between 6AM and 6PM (or 8PM during Daylight Savings Time). Between 6PM and 12AM, driving is permitted when accompanied by a licensed adult driver who is at least 21 years old. Any driving between 12AM and 6AM requires supervision of a parent or guardian. License holders are also prohibited from transporting more than two unrelated passengers under 21 if not supervised by a qualified adult.

Upon the licensee's 17th birthday, a full, unrestricted license will be issued.

Sixteen-year-olds who have held their beginner's permit for 180 days may apply for a special restricted license. The special restricted license allows the opportunity to waive the restricted driving times. Drivers must show proof of interference with either work or school, along with a statement from a parent and the employer or school, noting interference with necessary activities.

If you hold a beginner's permit, conditional provisional or special restricted driver's license and you accumulate six or more points, your driving privileges will be suspended for six months for Excessive Points. If you are suspended for Excessive Points, completing the National Safety Defensive Driver Course, or its equivalent, will not reinstate the suspension. The points that resulted in the Excessive Points suspension can also be used in a Point System suspension.

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