In the 1970s, golf carts began branching out from the fairways. Today, they are also a popular mode of transportation at gated and retirement communities, airports, sports facilities, college campuses, resorts, and farms, among other places.
Although golf carts are smaller, slower, and less intimidating-looking than cars, they can be just as dangerous. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there are roughly 15,000 accidents each year involving golf carts that require ER visits, with some fatalities mixed in. Over 30 percent involve children under age 16.
Many golf carts lack safety features such as seatbelts, doors, turn signals, and rollover bars. The CPSC states that nearly 40 percent of serious golf cart injuries occur when passengers are thrown from the vehicle, mostly during sharp turns. Handholds and hip-restraint bars affixed to the passenger seat are frequently inadequate to restrain passengers in these instances. Rollovers and overcrowding are problems, too.
Most golf carts are designed for speeds ranging from 10 to 25 mph. To be street-legal, golf carts must achieve speeds of 20 to 25 mph and generally can’t be driven on roads with speed limits greater than 35 mph. Some additional requirements include seatbelts, lights (e.g., headlights, turn signals, brake lights, etc.), a horn, and a driver’s license.
Golf carts generally weigh between 500 and 1,000 pounds. Even at “low” speeds, collisions can be devastating; same for passenger ejections. Distracted and impaired driving play roles in some golf cart incidents as well.
Golf carts are fun, convenient, and cost-effective but should never be taken lightly. If you or a family member is injured due to negligence, contact our office to schedule a free consultation.