Golf Cart Safety Tips for Families This Summer
It’s not uncommon to see families on golf carts zipping around local neighborhoods, especially in the spring and summertime. In larger neighborhoods, taking a golf cart to the pool can save a car ride or a longer, much warmer walk. Master-planned communities may have a grocery store or school within the neighborhood where it’s tempting to hop on the golf cart for a quick trip. In today’s post, we’re highlighting the dangers posed when golf carts are operated by a child. We’ll also touch on some important golf cart safety tips that apply to those who are legally allowed to operate a golf cart in South Carolina.
Understand the Dangers of Children Driving a Golf Cart
While getting behind the wheel of a golf cart must be incredibly tempting to children, when you review the potential risks, you’ll understand why it’s so dangerous. The National Law Review recently warned readers about the dangers of children operating golf carts. They cited a study that took place from early 2004 to late 2014 focused on 100 children under the age of 17 who were treated for golf cart accident injuries in Pennsylvania trauma centers. The study found the average age of the children injured was 11, with 27 percent suffering a concussion. The concussion risk went up for children ages 6 to 11, with 25 to 30 percent sustaining brain injury and brain bleeding. The National Law Review cites the lack of safety features in golf carts (there are none for children) and helmets not being required as possible explanations for the increase in head injuries.
Know the Laws About Operating Golf Carts
Some may not realize you must be 16 years of age with a valid driver’s license to operate a golf cart in South Carolina (also called a low-speed vehicle). The law also states golf cart use is limited to daylight hours, and the golf cart must be registered and insured (liability insurance). The law goes on to state: “a low-speed vehicle may be operated only on a highway for which the posted speed limit is thirty-five miles an hour or less.” Additionally, golf cart operation is limited to “within four miles of the address on the registration certificate.” Refer to the South Carolina Legislature website for more specifics.
As a parent or caregiver, you play a vital role in keeping children safe while riding on golf carts. Follow South Carolina laws for golf cart use, no exceptions. Halloween night, for example, is one instance where locals seem to ignore the “daylight hours” mandate, as reported by The Gazette of Summerville. Another hazard highlighted by The Gazette’s Matt Bise is driving a golf cart while under the influence or traveling with an open container. Bise reports, “A driver can get charged with DUI or having an open container just like in a car.” Nationwide Children’s Hospital put together a list of golf cart safety tips.
A few to note:
- Braking slowly and avoiding sharp turns
- Limiting passengers “to adults and children six years of age and older”
- Regularly maintaining your golf cart
- Waiting until the cart has reached a complete stop before exiting
- Using handgrips and keeping both feet on the floor (passengers)
Refer to their website for the full list.
We Are Here to Help
Contact our personal injury firm if you or a family member has been injured in a golf cart accident in South Carolina. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Call John Price Law Firm, LLC at (843) 552-6011.