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Turbeville, South Carolina, under fire for unusual speeding laws

Speeding tickets can result in fairly serious consequences in South Carolina, but many drivers are not aware of this. When drivers pay their speeding tickets, this can result in points on their licenses and higher insurance rates. Those who are ticketed in South Carolina should ensure that they understand their rights, including their right to challenge the charges.

Turbeville's speeding ticket practices have been under scrutiny since last fall when a news station reported that the town's speeding law violates the South Carolina Uniform Traffic Code. The town forces drivers to pay hundreds more in speeding fines than what is allowed by state law.

Under South Carolina law, when drivers plead guilty to a traffic violation they are assessed fines and points on their driver's licenses. Points affect insurance premiums and they can ultimately lead to the loss of driving privileges.

Turbeville has been charging fines based on its own scale and telling drivers that by paying the town's higher fines they will avoid incurring points. However, tickets issued in Turbeville are still registered with the state's department of motor vehicles, meaning they end up influencing insurance rates anyway. Motorists who are ticketed in Turbeville are likely unaware of this.

While the South Carolina Attorney General has said that local governments must comply with the UTA, a subcommittee of the state Senate Transportation Committee is considering creating a bill to explicitly outlaw local ordinances that conflict with the UTA.

Turbeville's mayor has said the town will not update its ordinance until it receives more direction from the state.

While the future of Turbeville's high speeding fines hang in the balance, it remains important for South Carolina drivers to ensure they understand their rights if they are cited for speeding in Turbeville or anywhere else in the state.

Source: WIS TV 10, "WIS Investigates: Lawmakers working to end town's potentially illegal speeding ticket practice," Jan. 30, 2014

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