Golf cart age limits ready to roll onto House floor

golf carts
Young kids are currently driving the carts with accidents resulting.

Statutory ambiguity about how young is too young to drive a golf cart may be resolved soon, if a new bill from Rep. Cyndi Stevenson becomes law.

HB 949, approved by the House Infrastructure Strategies Committee, would ban young drivers from operating the carts on “certain roadways” (namely, public roads) unless they had driver’s licenses or learners’ permits that had not been suspended or revoked.

“The bill is very narrow. It only applies to golf carts,” the St. Johns County Republican said. “This bill will not save every child, but it will go a long way.”

The bill would replace language in current law, which exempts golf cart drivers from license requirements altogether.

Golf carts can be seen in certain neighborhoods, usually upscale communities. The legislation would put guardrails on operation, but not particularly severe ones, treating illegal operation as a “noncriminal traffic infraction.”

Stevenson mentioned children were often injured in accidents, at rates “significantly higher” than adults, and these injuries often lead to head, neck or spine injuries.

Stevenson noted golf carts lack safety equipment that normal cars have, a problem when they’re used as “alternative transportation” in neighborhoods and at resorts, particularly when driven by people as young as 14 years old.

A representative from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said the bill was “very important to us” given that golf carts are “dangerous” and young drivers lack “formal training.” The Florida Sheriff’s Association is in support also.

Stevenson noted current laws are “largely unenforceable because the driver is not required to carry a driver’s license or registration.”

Rep. Keith Truenow expressed caution before opposing the bill, noting that “as far as preventing a child from driving a golf cart, a lot of parents and grandparents allow their child to drive their golf cart and they tend to use them for transportation.”

“The law will tell you not to drive, but people will do it anyway. … This law may help a little, but I don’t think it moves the needle enough,” the Tavares Republican contended ahead of the 17-1 vote.

If the bill becomes law, it kicks in on July 1.

The House version of this legislation has two more committee stops before the floor. Sen. Erin Grall introduced SB 1290, the identical Senate companion of the Stevenson bill. It has a committee stop Wednesday.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski

One comment

  • David T. Hawkins

    April 18, 2023 at 12:06 pm

    Why not ATV’s and Side By Sides as well? They are more dangerous.

Comments are closed.


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