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Many Teens Driving Golf Carts Illegally

Many Teens Driving Golf Carts Illegally

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Columbia County, GA - As the golf cart manufacturing capital in the world, there’s no doubt that the use of these vehicles in the CSRA is widespread. But when it comes to safety, some people are worried about the popularity of driving golf carts among teenagers.

Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 877 into law earlier this year letting local governments in Georgia make the rules for golf carts on city streets. While this may boost golf cart sales around town as streets become more accessible, there are rules that people, and especially parents need to pay attention to.

The speed of a golf cart doesn’t seem intimidating, but it’s causing concern in Columbia County.

There are multiple neighborhoods with active golf communities, where people find golf carts an easy way to commute.

“Going from house to house and playing with their friends, and meeting up and that kind of stuff,” said Riverwood Plantation resident John Lawson.

John Lawson said he sees young children on carts every day, and teens at the wheel who aren’t licensed to drive.

“A few years ago there was a wreck here where a little girl I believe was pretty injured, but I think she ended up being okay, but yeah it’s always a possibility that someone can get hurt horse playing on golf cart that can go 15 to 20 miles an hour,” said Lawson.

Sergeant Mark Smith with Columbia County said there have only been three cited accidents last month, but golf cart activity picks up during summer.

“We’re not seeing a significant amount of per say accidents with golf carts, but we are getting more and more calls about golf carts,” said Smith.

State law says a golf cart driver must be licensed and at least 16 years old. All drivers are only allowed on county roads that are less than 35 miles per hour, and are not allowed on highways.

“If we come in contact with someone who is under age that doesn’t have a driver’s license, we will take corrective measures, not necessarily ticket them the first time, but after that we will contact the person’s parents, advise them of the law in the situation that we ran upon, and take corrective actions that way,” said Smith.

Tom Deutschle said teens driving golf carts in his community, Riverwood Plantation, is a big problem.

“Sometimes under the age of 13 driving around so it concerns us, concerns us because of their lack of skills, and going too fast around corners, and into intersections where they might meet cars,” said Deutschle.

He said parents need to be aware of the laws, and know what their children are doing.

“They have a false sense of security that everything is okay, but I can tell you its accidents waiting to happen, and when it happens it’s too late to turn back the clock,” said Deutschle.

State law also requires that golf carts have braking systems, a reverse warning device, tail lamps, a horn, and hip restraints, so make sure you check all your equipment before you drive.

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