Golf carts have been rising in popularity as an affordable, convenient, and low-maintenance form of transportation. With their surge in popularity however, comes a false sense of safety and an invitation to slack on safety awareness, leading to severe injury and even death.
Golf Carts Are Big Business
The global golf cart market size is projected to reach $2.25 billion by 2026. If you live in a neighborhood, just look out in the street during the evening and count the number of golf carts cruising by. How many have kids riding on them? How many have drink holders?
Golf carts are convenient, affordable, come in many shapes and sizes, and are even viewed as status symbols, with companies offering lift kits, customized carts, and other accessories.
While standard golf carts are capable of speeds of 12-15 mph, many are “souped up” with bigger tires, speed controls, and more power, allowing them to reach speeds up to 20 mph. But even at 12 or 15 mph, a golf cart crash could lead to life-changing consequences.
Golf Cart Injuries
Golf cart accidents can lead to severe injury, including traumatic brain injuries, crushing injuries, and even death. Riders of golf carts are particularly vulnerable to injuries due to several factors.
First, a lot of people drive golf carts as if they were cars, but they are not! Golf carts are not equipped with the same safety features. For instance, golf carts don’t have doors to keep passengers inside or airbags to help decrease force injuries.
Second, golf carts riders are more likely to be forcibly thrown from the vehicle during an accident, leading to severe head and brain injuries. It is interesting that helmets are widely used by bicyclists, but not for golf cart passengers.
Third, golf cart rollover accidents are typically caused by a combination of speed, turning, and slopes. Due to their size, it is not hard to accidentally flip a golf cart. Passengers are typically thrown from the golf cart or pinned underneath.
Finally, golf carts are sometimes viewed as safe for kids to drive around the neighborhood, or to drive from one neighbor’s house to another while drinking. Doing so is a recipe for disaster.
Golf Cart Laws
As the popularity of golf carts has risen, Louisiana has become stricter on the subject.
Golf carts may be used on public roads only when designated by a parish or municipality for use by a golf cart. Even then, the golf cart must be titled and insured, and the driver must have a valid driver’s license. (La. R.S. 32:299.4) Some subdivisions contain private roads, but still must follow laws concerning speed limits and traffic control.
Also, drivers under the influence can still get a DWI while driving a golf cart.
Golf Cart Liability Insurance
Now, what happens when a golf cart accident occurs while it is being driven somewhere other than on its owner’s property? Will auto insurance cover it? How about a homeowner’s policy? Probably not!
While a lot depends on the facts of the accident, most auto policies exclude golf carts. Similarly, most homeowner’s policies exclude golf cart accidents occurring away from the insured premises.
One simple and surprisingly cheap solution is to ask your insurance agent about adding a golf cart endorsement to your existing homeowner’s policy. Explain to your agent how you use your golf cart and get their suggestions. In most cases, a golf cart policy or rider will cost around $10 a month, which is a small price to pay in order to be covered.
Be safe driving out there, even when driving a golf cart! If you have been a victim of a golf cart accident, give us a call today to schedule a free CRASH COURSE. Whether your accident happened in St. Tammany Parish (Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom) or anywhere in the New Orleans Metro area, we are here for you. Contact us today at (985) 590-6182