“The ‘Mostly’ Safe Golf Cart”
The New York Times ran an article titled “The (Mostly) Safe Golf Cart” about the thousands of customized golf carts that have become a normal part of retirement community culture across the country, whereby golf carts are not only used to play golf, but to make trips to grocery stores, doctors’ offices, and everywhere else for those with limited mobility. For many, these carts are more convenient, energy- and cost-efficient, and environmentally-friendly than cars.
However, many people are also concerned about how the carts are used, and the dangers associated with them. They are often perceived as being as safe as vehicles, and yet, they leave those inside them as vulnerable as cyclists and pedestrians. Also taking into account the average age of who’s driving them in these communities can make for a dangerous combination in the instance of an accident.
Regulations Minimal; Injuries Prevalent
In 2015 alone, nearly 18,000 golf-cart related accidents nationwide required emergency room treatment. In retirement communities, most of the rescue and emergency medical service incidents involving golf carts involve injuries.
It would be reasonable to conclude that there are not enough regulations governing where golf carts can and cannot go. For example, in one retirement community, not only do residents use carts on paths shared with bicyclists and pedestrians, but they also drive them in areas shared with traffic. Some drivers even hand over the wheel to underage, unlicensed grandchildren in these circumstances.
Designed to drive at less than 20 miles per hour, there are no federal safety standards governing golf carts. That includes no mandate to feature seatbelts. Carts are typically regulated at the state level, but even those regulations are usually fairly minimal. For example, Florida law states that golf carts can only be operated between sunrise and sunset, unless night driving is authorized by a local government, in which case they simply need to be equipped with headlights, brake lights, taillights, etc.
Major Causes & Types of Injuries
The following are some of the major causes of injuries in golf cart accidents:
- Carts overturning;
- Falling from a moving cart;
- Colliding with another stationary object;
- Being hit or run over by a cart; and
- Getting injured while entering or exiting the cart.
The most common injuries associated with these accidents include fractured arms, hands, legs and feet, as well as lacerations, and sometimes even serious head injuries and/or spinal cord injuries.
Fort Lauderdale Golf Cart Accident Lawyers
Throughout the years, the Fort Lauderdale attorneys at Friedland & Associates have represented numerous individuals who have been seriously injured on golf carts. If you or a loved one has been hurt, we will be happy to discuss your case and any options you might have. Contact us today for a consultation on your case.