A Quick Overview

A golf cart must be permitted. A permit may be obtained at any S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles branch office. A permit allows a licensed driver to operate a golf cart during daylight hours only, and only on a secondary highway or street with a posted speed limit of 35mph or less, within four miles of the registration holder’s address. The operator must have the permit and registration on their person. A golf cart is different from a Low Speed Vehicle (LSV). An LSV must have a license plate and may operate after dark. A golf cart is restricted to daylight hours and is permitted.

Alcohol, Overcrowding, Children & Animals

The same laws that prohibit the use and possession of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle apply to the operation of a golf cart. This includes passengers. Do not exceed the number of occupants for which the golf cart was designed. Do not carry children or animals on your lap while operating a golf cart. Follow the same traffic laws that you would follow when operating a motor vehicle. Stay off sidewalks. Be aware at all times that golf cart occupants are extremely at risk when traveling in traffic. A golf cart offers no protection from collision. Remain alert and drive defensively!

South Carolina Golf Cart Law

South Carolina’s golf cart law was amended effective October 1, 2011: Golf carts must be permitted through the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles. A person operating a permitted golf cart must be at least 16 years of age and hold a valid driver’s license. The operator of a permitted golf cart being operated on a highway or street must have in their possession the registration certificate for the golf cart issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, proof of financial responsibility for the golf cart, and their driver’s license. A golf cart permit must be replaced with a new permit every five years, or at the time the permit holder changes their address. Golf cart owners holding golf cart permits on or before October 1, 2011 will have until September 30, 2015 to obtain a replacement permit. During daylight hours only: A permitted golf cart may be operated within four miles of the address on the registration certificate and only on a secondary highway or street for which the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less. A permitted golf cart may be operated within four miles of a point of ingress and egress to a gated community, and only on a secondary highway or street for which the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less. Within four miles of the registration holder’s address, and while traveling along a secondary highway or street for which the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less, a permitted golf cart may cross a highway or street at an intersection where the highway has a posted speed limit of more than 35 mph. A permitted golf cart may be operated along a secondary highway or street for which the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less on an island not accessible by a bridge designed for use by automobiles. A political subdivision may, on designated streets or roads within its jurisdiction, reduce the area in which a permitted golf cart may operate from four to no less than two miles. However, it may not reduce or amend the other restrictions placed on the operation of a permitted golf cart as contained in the state law. The law does not apply to a golf cart used by a public safety agency in connection with the performance of its duties. Please be aware that this law does not apply to “low speed vehicles.” They are regulated by a separate state law.