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Rules exist for golf car drivers

Posted: Sunday, April 12, 2009

As the weather warms in a county that is home to a major golf car manufacturer, authorities expect to see more golf cars cruising neighborhood streets. On many occasions, those vehicles are operated illegally.


Two teens took a trip to the hospital last weekend after the golf car they were riding in overturned in a subdivision near Grovetown.

An Augusta 15-year-old was driving the golf car in Tudor Branch subdivision about 5 p.m. April 5 when she tried to turn around in a cul-de-sac too quickly and flipped the vehicle, according to a Columbia County Sheriff's Office report.

The driver and the three underage occupants were ejected. The driver and a 15-year-old passenger were treated at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman. An 11-year-old and a 12-year-old suffered minor injuries.

No one in the car was legally allowed to drive it on a public road, according to sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris. Only licensed drivers may operate golf cars.

Morris said his department receives occasional complaints about juveniles driving golf cars "foolishly and recklessly."

"In most cases, they are handled by warning the driver," Morris said. "If the driver is not licensed, and in most cases they are underage, we notify the parents. I cannot think of a case where a warning did not work."

Golf cars cannot be driven legally on roads where the speed limit exceeds 35 miles per hour, which excludes state highways and many county roads. Golf cars are often relegated to neighborhood streets, Morris said.

Golf cars often congregate around school areas, including the Greenbrier area.

"I guess they feel it is more convenient," Morris said. "It is less expensive. They can get in and out of traffic easier. We cannot think of an incident involving a golf car in that school zone, any related problems or known problems whatsoever. That is usually because the cars are being driven by responsible licensed adults."

Lights and turn signals are required at night.

Drivers are never allowed to operate golf cars on the shoulder of a road or in the right of way, Morris said.

Though not required, seat belts, tags and insurance are recommended, Morris said.


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