Red Light and Stop Sign Tickets in South Carolina

Read about South Carolina’s red light and stop sign laws and the consequences of a violation.

If you get caught running a stop sign or red light in South Carolina, you'll likely face fines and demerit points on your driving record. This article gives an overview of what the law prohibits and some specific consequences of a stop sign or red light violation.

Making the Stop

At a red light (solid or flashing) or stop sign, motorists generally must make a complete stop at a clearly marked stop line or before entering the crosswalk at the near side of the intersection. If, however, there is no crosswalk or stop line, the driver should stop before the intersection itself.

Right-On-Red Rule

South Carolina law allows motorists to make a right turn after stopping at a red light as long as there's no sign indicating the turn is prohibited. However, the motorist making the right turn must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians using the crosswalk and other traffic lawfully in the intersection.

Left-on-Red Rule

In South Carolina, a motorist is generally permitted to make a left turn from a one-way street onto another one-way street after stopping at a red light. Of course, drivers aren't allowed to make such a turn if there's a sign at the intersection indicating a left turn on red is illegal.

Meaning of a Yellow Light

In South Carolina, a steady yellow light is a warning that the light is about to turn red. In other words, you're allowed to enter an intersection while the light is still yellow. But if you enter the intersection after the light has turned red, you can be cited for running the light.

Red Light Cameras

Unlike many other states, South Carolina law generally prohibits the use of cameras to detect red light violators.

Special Rules for Motorcycles, Mopeds, and Bicycles

The intervals at which some traffic lights switch depend on technologies that detect when a vehicle is stopped at the light. However, these technologies often fail to detect motorcycles, mopeds, and bicycles because of their size. So, South Carolina has a special rule that allows people using these modes of transportation to proceed at a red light:

  • after coming to a stop and waiting at least 120 seconds, and
  • exercising due care by treating the traffic light as a stop sign.

Fines, Points, and Other Possible Charges

Stop sign and red light violations are misdemeanors. Although the maximum fine for running a stop sign or red light is $100, court costs can substantially increase the amount the driver has to actually pay.

A stop sign or red light ticket will also add four demerit points to a motorist's driving record. However, drivers can reduce their points by completing a defensive driving course.

Depending on the situation, a red light or stop sign violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if one of these violations results in the death of another person, "reckless vehicular homicide" charges are possible.

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