The Difference Between Careless Driving and Reckless Driving in South Carolina

If you regularly drive on the roads of South Carolina or even a visitor exploring the scenic beauty of SC, you should have a clear idea of traffic laws specially the difference between reckless and careless driving. It’s because the legal consequences are taken based on the committed offence. So it’s about ensuring that you and others enjoy the road safely while knowing and complying with traffic rules.

So let’s know the difference between careless and Reckless driving in SC and what are the legal penalties or punishment for such offences.

Careless Driving


Careless refers to lack of attention while driving resulting in unsafe and negligent behavior on the road. As it is not intended to harm anyone or pose a life-threatening risk, it is less offensive than reckless driving.

In South Carolina, careless driving is considered traffic infraction. When anyone commits traffic infraction, the traffic police in charge can charge fine, put points on the driver’s record or even increase the vehicle insurance premium.

Depending on the circumstance or impact of the incident, the penalty or punishment is decided. Here are some actions considered careless driving in South Carolina:

Distracted Driving

This includes activities like using a mobile phone, eating, or any other distractions while driving.

Not Using Turning Signal

Changing lanes or turning right-left without using turning signal.

Speeding violation

Slightly crossing the speeding limit.

Driving Too Closely To Another Vehicle

Driving another vehicle without any aggressive intention.

Reckless Driving


Reckless refers to deliberate and aggressive actions to harm others or take life risks. In South Carolina, this kind of dangerous behavior is strictly handled.

For the first offense, the guilty can receive 30 days in jail, 6 points on driving license, and $445 fine. Additionally, this can lead to an increase in insurance premiums of that vehicle.

Here are some actions considered reckless driving in South Carolina:

  • Aggressive Driving

Aggressive actions towards other vehicles on the road.

  • Racing

Racing on public roads.

  • Excessive Overtaking And Tailgating

Intentionally overtaking or tailgating other vehicles aggressively.

  • Exceeding Speed Limit

South Carolina traffic laws are really strict in enforcing speed limits. Exceeding the speed limit are considered reckless driving.

The speed limit defers according to location. For example, within the cities the speed limit is 20-30 mph while in rural areas it is 45-65 mph.

However, within the freeway city the speed limit is 55-70 mph but outside cities it is 70 mph.

  • Driving While Drunk

Operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol or drugs.

  • Disobeying Traffic Signals

Disobeying traffic signals and driving aggressively.

  • Driving Around Traffic Barriers

Friendly Measures to Stop Reckless Driving

Hostile and reckless driving can leave a life-long impact on someone’s like injury and life loss of loved ones. So it’s crucial to ensure responsible ride practices to make roads safer for everyone.

Here are some friendly measures we can take to create a safer environment:

  • Raising public awareness of traffic laws and the dangers of careless and reckless driving.
  • Emphasis on the importance of safe driving in drivers’ training.
  • Improve road infrastructure for better and safer roads.
  • Driving vehicles with advanced safety features.
  • Always being respectful towards traffic laws.
  • Avoid driving while drunk or sleepy.

Final Words


Careless driving is typically limited to fines and points on guilt’s driving record. On the other hand, reckless driving can lead to more severe penalties, including jail time, substantial fines, and higher insurance premiums. So understanding the difference between careless driving and reckless driving is really important for anyone driving in South Carolina.