Golf Carts: Taking Communities by Storm but Putting Passengers at Risk Along the Way
Golf carts are growing in popularity for their convenience and ease of use, as manufacturers are now able to construct them for road travel. In many communities, golf carts are the main mode of transportation. As the percentage of golf cart usage continues to increase, officials are trying to find ways to make room for them on the road among vehicles.
In 2017, there were an estimated 18,300 golf cart injuries across the nation. In the last two years, golf cart crashes led to an estimated 35,000 trips to the ER. Though most are equipped with seat belts, their light-weight build and lower maximum speed make them vulnerable when driving in areas with motor vehicles.
If a golf cart cannot exceed 20 mph, it is deemed a personal transportation vehicle (PTV) and is subject to the specific state and local laws set in place at that time. If a golf cart has been manufactured or doctored to exceed 20 mph, it is treated as a motor vehicle or low speed vehicle (LSV) under Federal law and thus must be equipped with certain safety features. This chart breaks down the different requirements for PTVs in North Carolina, PTVs in South Carolina and LSVs everywhere under federal law.
There may be local laws in place for PTV’s that vary from the above information. To be sure of the most accurate information, check with your local municipality.
Regardless of the type of golf cart and the safety features in place, these vehicles are drastically more dangerous in the event of a crash when it involves a regular-sized motor vehicle. For that reason, please always exercise caution and adhere to the rules of the road when behind the wheel of a golf cart.