TAMPA, Florida. Golf carts have been a staple in retirement communities such as Lake Region Village in Haynes City.
“This is our main way of getting around the park, through the village. Cars aren’t used as much,” said Jerry Sammon, Lake Region Village President.
Each of the 587 homes in the Lake District has at least one golf cart.
“For golf carts, the driver must be licensed and we follow the rules of the road,” Sammon said.
Young drivers also get behind the wheel when they come to visit their grandparents.
Oh, you will see them. Grandchildren are a way of life here. You see a lot of them. We have restrictions on who can drive them,” Sammon said.
Under a new law in the state of Florida, persons under the age of 18 are prohibited from driving a golf cart unless they have a driver’s or learner’s license. Previously, Florida law allowed a 14-year-old to drive a golf cart.
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The law comes into force on 1 October. Violation of the new rule will be considered a non-criminal traffic violation.
“Now they sell golf carts and they are used in the public environment and they are on the streets. Unfortunately, most people are not trained in golf cart safety,” said Brian Faison of the Florida Board of Safety.
Golf carts may be operated on golf cart roads with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less. Faison teaches golf cart safety and the dangers of misuse.
“We have so many injuries where people fall out of golf carts because the driver and the person in the golf cart just don’t pay attention and there have been very serious injuries and deaths,” Faison said.
A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that more than 6,500 children are injured each year in golf cart accidents.