Usage of neon underglow lighting is governed by South Carolina Vehicle Code, Title 56: Motor Vehicles, Chapter 5: Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways, Article 35: Equipment and Identification.
Is neon underglow legal in South Carolina?
South Carolina law does not restrict additional vehicle lighting which would include neon underglow. Therefore it’s our conclusion that in South Carolina neon underglow is not illegal, as long as you avoid the following restrictions:
- No red lights may be visible from the front of the vehicle
- Blue color is reserved for police vehicles and may not be visible anywhere outside the car
- Flashing or rotating lights are prohibited
- License plate illumination must be white
There are no relevant SC laws which restrict or prohibit installing neon underglow or other aftermarket lighting, meaning we consider it legal to use it while driving. Ensure your neon lights are unable to change color to blue, and do not use any kind of rotating, flashing, oscillating, or fading lights.
South Carolina vehicle lighting laws
Below are all relevant excerpts from South Carolina Vehicle Code that limit, restrict or allow certain aftermarket lights to be installed on vehicles.
SECTION 56-5-4430. Additional parts and accessories not prohibited.
Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to prohibit the use of additional parts and accessories of any vehicle which are not inconsistent with the provisions of this article.
This section is important to note as it essentially permits using underglow as long as it’s not in violation of other laws and regulations.
SECTION 56-5-4530. Illumination of rear registration plate.
Either a tail lamp or a separate lamp shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear registration plate […]
SECTION 56-5-4590. Color of clearance lamps, side-marker lamps, reflectors, stop lights and back-up lamps.
Front clearance lamps and those marker lamps and reflectors mounted on the front or on the side near the front of a vehicle shall display or reflect an amber color. Rear clearance lamps and those marker lamps and reflectors mounted on the rear or on the sides near the rear of a vehicle shall display or reflect a red color. All lighting devices and reflectors mounted on the rear of any vehicle shall display or reflect a red color, except the stop light or other signal device, which may be red, amber or yellow and except that the light illuminating the license plate or the light emitted by a back-up lamp shall be white.
SECTION 56-5-4700. Audible signal devices and signal lamps for authorized emergency vehicles, school buses and police vehicles; restrictions on use; effect of use.
(B) Every school bus and every authorized emergency vehicle, in addition to any other equipment and distinctive markings required by this chapter, must be equipped with signal lamps mounted as high and as widely spaced laterally as practicable, which must be capable of displaying to the front two alternately flashing red lights located at the same level and to the rear two alternately flashing red lights located at the same level […]
(C) All police vehicles when used as authorized emergency vehicles must be equipped with oscillating, rotating, or flashing blue lights. In addition to the blue lights, the police vehicle may, but need not be equipped with alternately flashing red lights as herein specified, and may, but need not be equipped with oscillating, rotating, or flashing red lights, white lights, or both, in combination with the required blue lights. The authorized emergency police vehicle lights described herein must be visible for a distance of five hundred feet in all directions in normal sunlight. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or display on any vehicle any blue light that is visible from outside the vehicle except one used primarily for law enforcement purposes.
(D) The alternately flashing lighting described in subsection (B) of this section shall not be used on any vehicle other than an authorized emergency vehicle. Provided, that a school bus may use the alternately flashing red lighting described in subsection (B), or red flashing lights in the rear and amber flashing lights in the front.
In case you’re stopped by a police officer and in case of LED underglow which is typically capable of changing colors, we strongly suggest not telling officers you can change colors. By law even possession of blue lights can be considered against the law.
SECTION 56-5-4720. Use of oscillating, rotating or flashing red lights on State Department of Transportation vehicles.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 56-5-4700, any Department of Transportation vehicle may use oscillating, rotating or flashing red lights during any emergency. The Department of Transportation personnel shall determine when an emergency exists.
SECTION 56-5-4740. Warning lamps.
Any vehicle may be equipped with lamps which may be used for the purpose of warning the operators of other vehicles of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing, and when so equipped may display such warning in addition to any other warning signals required by this chapter. The lamps used to display such warning to the front shall be mounted at the same level and as widely spaced laterally as practicable and shall display simultaneously flashing white or amber lights or any shade of color between white and amber. The lamps used to display such warning to the rear shall be mounted at the same level and as widely spaced laterally as practicable and shall show simultaneously flashing amber or red lights or any shade of color between amber and red.
SECTION 56-5-4830. Special restrictions on lamps; degree of intensity; red, blue and flashing lights.
Any lighted lamp or illuminating device upon a motor vehicle, other than head lamps, spot lamps, auxiliary lamps, flashing turn signals, emergency vehicle warning lamps, and school bus warning lamps, which project a beam of light of an intensity greater than three hundred candlepower shall be so directed that no part of the high intensity portion of the beam will strike the level of the roadway on which the vehicle stands at a distance of more than seventy-five feet from the vehicle.
A person shall not drive, move, or park any vehicle or equipment upon a highway with a lamp or device on it displaying a red or blue light visible from directly in front of the center of it. This section shall not apply to a vehicle upon which a red or blue light visible from the front is expressly authorized or required by this chapter.
Flashing lights are prohibited except on an authorized emergency vehicle, school bus, snow-removal equipment, or on any vehicle as a means of indicating a right or left turn or the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring unusual care in approaching, overtaking, or passing.
South Carolina Vehicle Code, Title 56: Motor Vehicles, Chapter 5: Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways, Article 35: Equipment and Identification.
South Carolina Attorney General - Law/Analysis of Neon Underglow (PDF file)
State of South Carolina Info
South Carolina is a state in the Southeastern United States. It is bordered to the north by North Carolina; to the south and west by Georgia, located across the Savannah River; and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. It's the 40th most extensive and the 24th most populous of the 50 United States, and comprises of 46 counties. The capital and largest city of the state is Columbia.
Area: 32,020 sq mi (82,931. km2)
Cities in South Carolina: Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Greenville, Columbia, Hilton Head Island, Spartanburg, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, Beaufort, North Charleston, Rock Hill, Florence, Anderson, Bluffton, Fort Mill, Isle of Palms, Aiken, Pawleys Island, Sumter, Folly Beach, Greer, Conway, Murrells Inlet, North Myrtle Beach, Simpsonville, Goose Creek, Georgetown, Surfside Beach, Lexington, Orangeburg, Sullivan's Island, Moncks Corner, Clemson, Gaffney, Greenwood, Parris Island, Easley, Seabrook Island, Walterboro, Irmo, Hartsville, Seneca, Camden, Edisto Beach, North Augusta, West Columbia, Travelers Rest, Edgefield, Mauldin, Blythewood
Counties in South Carolina: Abbeville, Aiken, Allendale, Anderson, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Cherokee, Chester, chesterfield, clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Edgefield, Fairfield, Florence, Georgetown, Greenville, Greenwood, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Lee, Lexington, Marion, Marlboro, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Orangeburg, Pickens, Richland, Saluda, Spartanburg, Sumter, Union, Williamsburg, York
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