- June 25, 2012
- Vehicle Accidents
More and more people, according to Hoover police, are driving golf carts on both public streets and sidewalks. According to state law, unless a golf cart has a tag, headlights, brake lights, windshield with wipers and a rear-view mirror, it is not street legal, a fact which, police state, many people do not know. Driving a golf cart on a sidewalk is prohibited by state law as carts are considered motorized vehicles and it is unlawful to drive any motorized vehicle on a sidewalk.
Hoover police are alarmed at the number of golf carts being driven on the public roadways. Police state that in 2010, there were several golf cart accidents which resulted in serious injuries and one fatality. The primary concern of the police department is the prevention of injuries caused by illegally driven golf carts, but police also stated they do not like to cite citizens for something so easily prevented.
The University of Alabama conducted a recent study on golf cart related accidents in the United States by studying emergency room databases from the years 2002 to 2005. The results from that study show that approximately 48,000 golf cart accidents took place nationwide during that time frame, injuring about 1,000 people a month. The research revealed that about 50 percent of these accidents happened on the golf course, with the other 50 percent taking place at homes, on streets and other public property. Those with the highest injury rate in these accidents were young males, ages 10 to 19, and older males 80 years and up. The research also showed for those accidents that occurred on the golf course, alcohol was a primary factor in the cause of collisions.
Researchers suggest several reasons for the increase in golf cart accidents. One reason is the lack of a requirement for safety equipment, as they feel the same type of equipment that is required for automobiles should be required for golf carts. Another suggested reason is the slow speed of the carts. Most golf carts are designed with top speeds of 15 mph, a speed that is quite apt for golf courses, but not for roadway travel. Finally, researchers state that more federal regulations and state requirements in regards to age and license requirements in operating a golf cart are needed to prevent the increase in golf cart accidents.