State of South Carolina

*** NOTICE ***
This page includes a brief summary of provincial/state laws regulating ATV / Off-highway vehicle use current to April 2012. It is not intended as an absolute reference as laws are subject to change without notice and many potential prohibited acts may be covered by other legislation or statutes. It is recommended that you consult with the latest version of state statutes or provincial legislation.
General prohibited acts that may not be covered by specific OHV legislation include trespassing on private property, unlawful use of OHV on public highways, reckless use of off-highway vehicles, operation of off-highway vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, damage to public or private property or damage to natural habitats or protected areas which are all unlawful in every province and state.

ATV's and other off-highway vehicles are regulated in the state of South Carolina under Title 50 of South Carolina statutes. These statutes cover use of off-highway vehicles on public and private lands.

For more information on South Carolina ATV/OHV regulations, please download a copy of the South Carolina OHV Act.

Summary of legislation regulating ATV use

Titling required
All residents of South Carolina are required to title their off-highway vehicle.

Restrictions on operation in state parks
Operation of off-highway vehicles in state parks is restricted to designated trails only. Most state parks in South Carolina offer trail that are only open to street legal vehicles. Off-highway vehicle use is prohibited on these trails.

Minimum age
No person under the age of 6 may operate a off-highway vehicle in South Carolina.

It is unlawful for a parent or legal guardian of a person less than 16 years of age to knowingly allow that person to operate an ATV in violation of the Age Restriction Warning Label affixed by the manufacturer as required by standard ANSI/SVIA 1-2007.
A person 16 years of age or younger who operates an all-terrain vehicle must be accompanied or directly supervised by an adult over the age of 18.

Restrictions on carrying passengers
It is unlawful for an operator to carry a passenger on a off-highway vehicle unless the vehicle is designed to carry passengers.

It is unlawful for a person under the age of 16 or a person that does not hold a valid drivers license to carry a passenger on a off-highway vehicle.
Safety certificate required
Effective July 1, 2011, every person 15 years old and younger who operates an all-terrain vehicle must possess a South Carolina ATV Safety Certificate indicating successful completion of 'hands-on' all-terrain vehicle safety course approved by the All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute.

Helmet and eye protection required
A person under the age of 15 may not ride on or operate a off-highway vehicle unless they are wearing a DOT approved helmet and eye protection.

Restrictions on operation during hours of darkness
It is unlawful to operate an all-terrain vehicle between a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise, unless it is operated with headlights turned on.

Please visit our U.S. land use forums for discussions regarding land use and legal issues.

OHV Registration / Permit
South Carolina does not currently require registration of off-highway vehicles, however some areas, such as designated OHV trails require the purchase of a OHV permit. In most cases these permits can be purchased locally in the area you will be riding in. Non-residents are recommended to possess valid out-of-state registration and decals on the vehicle.

For More Information
This page represents a general summary of applicable state laws which apply to the operation of an off-highway vehicle. Laws are subject to change and laws other than specific off-highway vehicle related laws may be in place which may directly or indirectly apply to the operation of a off-highway vehicle in certain circumstances. Please consult with your state statutes if you have any questions.

For more information on South Carolina ATV/OHV regulations, please download a copy of the South Carolina OHV Act.