So many deaths and serious injuries on our nations roadways can be prevented by simply wearing your seatbelt and making sure your children are also properly restrained. It is important to know your state’s laws on seatbelt and child restraint requirements.

South Carolina Code 56-5-6520 defines the laws regarding seatbelts. According to the code, the driver and EVERY occupant of the motor vehicle must wear a safety belt while the car is on public streets and highways. The driver is responsible for making sure anyone under the age of 17 is wearing a seatbelt or is properly secured in a child restraint system. The driver is NOT responsible for anyone under the age of 17 if the person has a driver’s license, special restricted license, or beginner’s permit.

South Carolina Code 56-5-6410 deals with child safety restraints. Any child 5 years of age or younger must be in an appropriate child passenger restraint system when riding in a motor vehicle on all public streets and highways.
• A child from birth to 1 year old or weighs less than 20 pounds must be in a rear facing child safety seat that meets National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety standards.
• Children 1 to less than 6 years of age or weighs 20-40 pounds must be in a front facing child safety seat that meets NHTSA safety standards.
• Children 1 to less than 6 years of age or weighs 40-80 pounds must be in a belt positioning booster seat.
• Children 1 to less than 6 years of age or weighs more than 80 pounds may be restrained by an adult safety belt; children less than 6 years old who can sit with their backs flat against the rear seat cushion and their knees can bend over the edge of the seat without slouching may also wear an adult seat belt.
• Children less than 6 years of age may NOT occupy the front seat unless there are no rear seats in the car or if all the rear seats have already been taken by other children under the age of 6.

South Carolina Code 56-5-6540 states the consequences for not wearing your seatbelt or properly restraining your child. The fine may not be more than $25.00 and no part may be suspended and no court costs or assessments may be added. This citation does not constitute a criminal offense and the offender may not be arrested unless there is a warrant out for his or her arrest. An officer may not issue a citation for not wearing your seatbelt or child restraint violation if you are stopped at a checkpoint, unless there is a citation for violating another motor vehicle law. A person may not be searched or agree to be searched solely on the violation of the above laws. The officer may not stop a driver for one of these offenses unless there is probable cause with a clear and unobstructed view of the driver or occupant. The person charged may admit or deny the violation and may be tried by a judge or jury. If convicted the person may appeal to the court of common pleas.

If you or a loved one have been involved an automobile accident please call the Kerr Law Firm at 843-785-3330. You may also email us at info@kerrlf.com. We would be happy to assist you with your case.