There was a time where the only place you might see golf carts being driven off the course would be in planned retirement communities. But now you can drive through many Utah neighborhoods and see teenagers and parents alike, driving down the road to the community pool, a friend's house or the grocery store in a golf cart. The "Golf Carts on Steroids" craze has taken off across the nation.
The question often posed is, "Are these golf carts street legal?" And the answer is, "It depends." First we need to determine, is this a golf cart or a low speed vehicle?Traditional golf carts are designed to go less than 20 mph and are intended for use only on the course. These carts do no require a license or registration but might require a permit and must meet all local or municipal safety equipment requirements. Golf carts sometimes require insurance and in some instances are covered under an individual's homeowner's policy.
A low speed vehicle is also required to go less than 25 mph but is allowed on streets that have a posted speed limit less than 35 miles per hour. Low speed vehicles require a driver's license to operate and must also be registered with valid license plates. Low speed vehicles are considered to be motor vehicles and require insurance to operate.
So what does this mean when you see a golf cart overflowing with teenagers headed down the street to the local snow cone shack? If there are more passengers than seats, if they are travelling down a road with a speed limit above 35 mph, if the driver does not have a license, or if there are no license plates on the vehicle, chances are, they are breaking the law.
The hope is that as people purchase and operate these vehicles, they become familiar with the laws and regulations surrounding their use. The fear is that there are underage drivers operating these vehicles without being licensed or insured. This is a concern for other motorists on the road because accidents do happen. What happens if you are in an accident involving a golf cart that was being operated illegally? What are your rights? How do you cover the cost of the damages or injuries? This can be a tricky situation to navigate. We can help. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident involving a golf cart or low speed vehicle, contact our office for a FREE consultation.