New Florida Law to Restrict Usage of Golf Carts
Score a hole-in-one for safety by following this guidance for golf cart driving that aims to keep everyone in the family in tip-top playing form. Golf requires both mental and physical skills. The same can be said for driving a golf cart, which can be turned into a deadly weapon.
Case in point, a 3-year-old driving a golf cart recently struck and killed a 7-year-old in Fort Myers, Florida, according to a news release from the Florida Highway Patrol. The 3-year-old was approaching a right curve near a home on private property when the front of the cart hit the 7-year-old who was standing in the front yard. The older child was critically injured in the collision and tragically pronounced dead. The 3-year-old did not require medical attention.
Concerns about minors driving golf carts prompted the passage of a new Florida law that will raise the age for golf cart driving and require a government-issued ID. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law House Bill 949, “prohibiting a person under 18 years of age from operating a golf cart on certain roadways unless he or she possesses a valid learner’s driver’s license or valid driver’s license.” This law officially bans young drivers from public streets.
While golf carts are a convenient means of traveling short distances, anyone under the age of 18 will soon need to have a permit or driver’s license to operate a golf cart. Golf cart drivers under 18 must be at least 15 with a learner’s permit or 16 with a driver’s license. Adults over the age of 18 are only required to have government-issued identification. Previously, Florida law allowed a 14-year-old to drive a golf cart. HB 949 goes into effect October 1. Drivers who do not obey the law could face a noncriminal traffic violation, like a moving violation.
Across the country, more than 6,500 children are hurt by golf carts every year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Juveniles are injured and killed at alarming rates from golf cart accidents, and present a greater risk than adults.
Are golf carts commonplace and a main mode of transportation in your neighborhood? It is important we raise awareness of the severity and types of injuries that golf carts pose especially to children and teenagers so that greater prevention measures can be instituted. Some view golf carts as relatively harmless, but they are not toys.
“There are plenty of legal street golf carts here in Delray and Boca. I personally have one that I am getting rid of for safety reasons and to eliminate the temptation for my kids to drive,” Matthew Kobren explains.
Poor braking, too many passengers, inattentive drivers, sharp curves, lack of maintenance, driver negligence, and uneven terrain can result in golf cart accidents that cause serious injury, or even death. Rudimentary safety features like seatbelts are often nonexistent in golf carts. Moreover, most adults and teens are not trained in golf cart safety.
Golf cart accidents can resemble motorcycle or bicycle accidents insofar as the occupants may be thrown from the vehicle due to their open nature. Golf carts are susceptible to the following types of dangerous accidents:
- Rollover crashes
- Passengers falling out of carts
- Carts running over pedestrians or cyclists
- Collision with other vehicles
- Carts sliding down embankments or into a body of water
Putt a par or better on your safety scorecard by taking steps to prevent injury and death when it comes to golf cart driving. As a personal injury law firm serving residents throughout Florida, we fight for your rights to compensation if you or a loved one is unfortunate to be involved in an accident. We work around the clock to ensure all your legal and medical needs are met.
Call 561-361-8677 if you have questions about golf carts or a personal injury accident case. We are always here to help and there’s no fee unless we recover money for you.