South Carolina Permit Restrictions
No matter how old you are, if you have never been licensed and would like to get a drivers license in South Carolina, you will have to go through the South Carolina learners permit stage first. The learners permit comes with numerous restrictions that were designed to keep you safe until you gain some driving experience. The South Carolina permit restrictions are the same for drivers of all ages, although teenage drivers license applicants have to meet a number of additional requirements. Failure to observe the South Carolina permit restrictions may see you lose your driving privilege in no time.
Why do we need these restrictions? The answer is very simple - the restrictions were designed to keep you safe. Drivers who just got a drivers license don't have much driving experience, which frequently leads to traffic accidents. This is why the learners permit stage was introduced - to allow everyone to gain driving experience before taking the South Carolina drivers test.
Those are under the age of 18 belong to a high risk group and a special licensing system had to be devised. This system is known as the South Carolina graduated drivers license system and it mandates the licensing procedure for everyone who is under 18 years of age. The system breaks the licensing procedure into a number of separate steps, each step with its own restrictions and requirements to be met. As the applicant proceeds through these stages, some of the restrictions are lifted and additional driving privileges are gained. Once every requirement is met, all permit and license restrictions are lifted and the applicant in granted with a full South Carolina drivers license.
Permit Restrictions - Over 18 years of Age
If you are over 18 years of age, there are not that many permit restrictions for you to observe. The main requirement that is presented before you is that you must hold your South Carolina learners permit for at least 180 days before you can apply for a drivers license. During this period, you are not allowed to drive alone and you must have a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age and who has at least one year of driving experience seated next to you. You can only practice driving between 6 a.m. and midnight, you cannot be on the road at night. Once the 180 days are up, you may visit the DMV and take a drivers license test.
Although there are not many learners permit restrictions for you to observe, you must still meet the same testing requirements when applying for a permit or a license. The state requires you to take a South Carolina DMV permit test before you are granted a drivers permit. Let it be known that more than 50% of all first time applicants fail this knowledge exam the first time they take it. If you want to see what the real permit test is like, you can take a few permit practice tests free of charge.
Drivers Permit Restrictions - Under 18 Years of Age
If you are under the age of 18, you must observe the same learners permit restrictions as older drivers. That is, no driving alone, having a supervised driver accompany you at all times, and no driving at nighttime. Just like all other applicants, you must hold your learners permit for at least six months before you can take a drivers test.
In addition to the above restrictions, there are other requirements for you to meet. During the permit holding period, you must complete a South Carolina drivers education class and receive a PDLA form. You must also complete at least 40 hours of supervised driving with your parents, with 10 hours being done at night.
Once these requirements are met, the applicants can take a South Carolina drivers test and receive a restricted drivers license. The type of the license you get depends on your age, if you are 15 to 16 years of age, you receive a conditional drivers license. Applicants between 16 and 17 years of age receive a special restricted drivers license. The official South Carolina drivers manual contains detailed descriptions of these licenses, we are going to cover just the restrictions that are applied to them.
Conditional License Restrictions
If you hold a conditional drivers license, you will be allowed to drive alone, but you still need to observe the following restrictions:
- Curfew. Driving during daylight hours only, which are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. to 8p.m. during daylight savings. If you want to drive between 6 p.m. and midnight, you must have a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age supervise you. Driving between midnight and 6 a.m. requires presence of a licensed parent or legal guardian.
- Passenger restriction. You are not allowed to carry more than two passenger unless there is a parent or legal guardian present in the vehicle. All immediate family members are exempt from this rule.
The conditional drivers license must be held for at least 6 months and the driver must be at least 16 before these restrictions can be lifted.
Special Restricted License Restrictions
Just like the conditional license, the restricted drivers license allows unsupervised driving if the following conditions are met.
Curfew. You are allowed to drive alone during the daylight hours, which are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. to 8p.m. during daylight savings. If you want to drive between 6 p.m. and midnight, you must have a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age supervise you. Driving between midnight and 6 a.m. requires presence of a licensed parent or legal guardian.
If the curfew interferes with your employment or school attendance, you can extend the allowed driving hours till midnight. In order to do so, you will need to present two notarized statements to the DMV, one from your parents, stating that they authorize this, and the second one from your school or employer, proving that you do have the need to travel during these hours.