Golf carts have left the fairways and taken to the streets as a popular mode of transportation in neighborhoods. Families, and even children too young to drive a regular car, can be seen zipping around the streets in gated communities, sometimes even on public access roads linking neighborhoods. But Beasley Allen attorney Gibson Vance says caution — and an awareness of the law governing these types of vehicles — is essential to preventing serious injury or even death. Vance says 13,000 accidents a year are reported in connection with golf carts, and that number is growing. Gibson’s own son, Carter, was involved in a golf cart accident, when the golf cart turned over after going around a corner. Most carts don’t have safety belts or restraints, increasing the likelihood of injury in the event of a crash. State law requires any vehicle being driven on public streets to have head lights, tail lights, a windshield and seatbelts, and drivers must be 16 years old or older. A golf cart driven on public streets also must pass a county inspection and be licensed, and must carry its own motor vehicle insurance policy.
June 19, 2012