If you live in a retirement community in California, Arizona or Florida, where the weather is often supreme, you might want to tool around in a golf cart, regardless of whether you are actually playing golf or not. These small motorized vehicles take you where you want to go, and burn less energy than a car. Many residents in subdivisions use golf carts to drive to the neighborhood clubhouse, and even to go shopping. Store and dining patrons in Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona often use the services of golf cart or pedicab drivers as alternatives to taxis.
However, like other motorized vehicles, driving or riding in a golf cart can be dangerous, and even deadly. The majority of the accidents involving golf carts, point the blame to either faulty braking, cart rollover, or ejection of passengers while the cart is moving. The open design, lack of seatbelts, poor braking capabilities, and uneven terrains are factors in golf cart accidents.
The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigates golf cart accidents and compiles reports of their findings. For instance, a country club maintenance worker in California was riding in a golf cart when the driver, a co-worker, tried to make a left turn at an intersection. The maintenance worker fell from the cart seat, and sustained head and facial injuries. The driver died four days later. The cart was going only five miles per hour.
Driving or riding in a golf cart should be safe, and get you where you want to go, when operated appropriately. You can take several steps to prevent injuries or deaths. These steps include:
- Becoming familiar with laws on golf carts, which may vary from state to state. Some states have passed laws to authorize local jurisdictions to permit people to drive golf carts on city streets, if the carts do not exceed 20 miles per hour.
- Making sure the golf cart is well maintained.
- Keeping updated on product recalls. For example, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Dec. 14, 2011, announced the voluntary recall of TXT golf carts, Cushman shuttle vehicles and Bad Boy off-road utility vehicles, and advised consumers to stop using them.
- Seeking immediate medical attention if injured.
Golf cart travel affords a more relaxing way to drive from place to place, and using one wisely will allow you to get you to your destination. If you or someone you know was injured while riding a golf cart operated by someone else, you may want to seek legal counsel for this type of personal injury case.