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South Carolina Golf Cart and LSV Laws: A Comprehensive Guide

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Understanding the distinction between golf carts and Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs) is crucial when navigating the diverse regulations in South Carolina. These vehicles, with varying features and intended uses, are governed by specific laws. Here’s a detailed guide to South Carolina’s golf cart and LSV laws, providing clarity on their differences and the legal requirements associated with each.

Differentiating Golf Carts and LSVs in South Carolina:

  • Golf Carts: Primarily designed for golf courses and non-public areas, with a maximum speed of 15 mph. Often lack advanced safety features unless modified.
  • LSVs: Capable of reaching speeds up to 25 mph, equipped with essential safety features like headlights, brake lights, turn signals, seat belts, and an advanced braking system. DMV and DOT approved for street use.

South Carolina Golf Cart Laws:

  • Driver Age: Legal driving age (16) with a valid driver’s license.
  • Operational Restrictions: Daylight operation on secondary highways and streets, with a four-mile limit from the registered address.
  • Documentation Requirements: Carry driver’s license, DMV permit, and proof of liability insurance.
  • Alcohol: Prohibited, with DUI charges applicable.
  • Liability for Underage Drivers: Parents can be held criminally and financially responsible for underage drivers’ actions.

South Carolina LSV Laws:

  • Street Legal Requirements: Must have headlights, tail lights, turn signals, seat belts, rear view mirrors, side view mirrors, windshield wipers, speedometer, and a horn for street legality.
  • Driver Age: Minimum age of 16 with a valid driver’s license.
  • Operational Freedom: No specific restrictions on time or distance; can operate on streets and highways with speed limits of 35 mph or less.
  • Documentation Requirements: Carry driver’s license and proof of insurance.
  • Alcohol: Strictly forbidden; DUI charges applicable.
  • Liability for Underage Drivers: Parents can be held criminally and financially responsible for underage drivers’ actions.

Registering an LSV in South Carolina:

  • Required Documentation:
    • Driver’s license
    • Title or Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin
    • Completed Form 400 – Application for Certificate of Title/Registration
    • Form TI-007 – Application for a low-speed vehicle
    • Proof of paid casual sales tax
    • Proof of liability insurance
  • Fees: $15 for the title and $40 for the registration.

Choosing Between Golf Cart and LSV: Consider the intended use:

  • Golf Cart: Suitable for daylight driving within a limited range.
  • LSV: Offers freedom to drive at any time, with a higher speed limit and capability for longer distances.

Understanding these regulations ensures compliance with South Carolina laws and responsible use of golf carts and LSVs in the state.

Links

South Carolina Department of Transportation

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

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