If you use a golf cart to get around your neighborhood or local area, you should know that the laws governing the driving of golf carts on public streets have changed. South Carolina does not restrict what you do with your golf cart on your own property, but operation on public roads is another matter.
More Usage, More Injuries.
Golf cart usage is rising, and because of that, a rise in injuries is not far behind. From 1990 through 2006 in the U.S., almost 148,000 persons of all ages were treated in emergency departments for injuries related to golf cart usage.
Other golf cart injury statistics include:
- Children under the age of 16 accounted for almost one-third (31.2 percent) of the injuries.
- Over the 17-year period studied, injuries rose at a steady pace each year, with a total increase of 132.3 percent.
- Nearly half of the injuries (47.7 percent) involved soft tissue damage.
- Roughly 1 in 13 cases (7.8 percent) required hospitalization.
- About 15 percent of injuries occurred because of golf cart usage on public roads and streets.
- One in 10 golf cart accidents are rollovers. These accidents usually produce the most serious injuries and deaths.
If golf carts had seat belts, serious injuries in rollovers would likely be fewer, but SC does not require seat belts in golf carts. Few states do.
What’s Legal for Golf Carts in SC?
If you use a golf cart to get around your local area, know our state’s laws if you plan to drive on public streets and roads:
- You must have a valid driver’s license.
- You must also have a golf cart permit. You will need to show a title, proof of liability insurance, and pay five dollars to SCDMV. Permits must be renewed every five years or if you move.
- When you operate the golf cart, you must carry your license, registration, and proof of liability insurance with you.
- You may operate golf carts only during daylight hours.
- You may drive golf carts only on secondary streets and roads that have speed limits of 35 mph or less. These streets and roads must be within four miles of the address listed on the cart’s registration. You may also drive a golf cart within four miles of an entrance or exit to a gated community. Local ordinances, however, can further restrict distances, so check your locality to be sure.
- Golf carts must have headlights, tail lights, and blinkers.
- You cannot have small children as passengers if they would need a car seat under current motor vehicle laws, unless your golf cart has seat belts (and a car seat).
- It is illegal to drink and operate a golf cart. The same DUI laws that apply to motor vehicles also apply to golf carts.
- A minor with no driver’s license is barred from driving any type of vehicle on a public road in SC, including a golf cart. Parents should keep in mind that they will be the liable party if their minor child causes an accident or causes damages or injuries while driving a golf cart illegally.
Rest assured the police will be looking for violators of the new laws, so make it your business to know your golf cart laws!