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Cell Phones and Texting: Distracted Driving Laws in South Carolina

cell phone south carolina

In South Carolina, it is illegal for drivers of all ages to text and drive, which includes emails and instant messages. However, there is no statewide ban on the use of handheld or hands free cell phones when making phone calls. Furthermore, drivers are allowed to use the GPS feature on their handheld device for navigation purposes.

The law is defined further saying a text or instant message may not be sent by a wireless communication device. These devices include:

  • Telephone
  • Personal digital assistant
  • Text messaging device
  • Computer

There are some exceptions to this law.


  • A driver who is parked or stopped lawfully
  • Using a hands free device
  • Calling or texting for emergency assistance
  • Receiving or transmitting information as part of a dispatch system
  • A public safety officer performing duties within their scope of practice
  • A GPS system, navigation system, or receiving traffic or road conditions

A law enforcement officer may pull a driver over for violating the texting and driving laws without them having made any other violation, as this is a considered a primary law in South Carolina. Even though the police can stop the driver, they cannot search, view, seize, or require the driver to turn over the device involved in the violation.


  • Maximum of $25 for the first offense
  • $50 for any subsequent offenses

Texting and driving is illegal for drivers of all ages in South Carolina. Drivers of all ages are allowed to make phone calls from handheld or hands free devices. Yet, they are urged to use caution and pull over to the side of the road as necessary.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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