Golf Cart Accidents on the Rise

A quick internet search of “golf cart accidents” brought up these (and several other) stories (all written in the past six weeks):

SELMA , IN – A local woman died early Sunday morning in a golf cart accident the coroner called “an extremely tragic freak accident”

FRANKLIN, TN – A 15-year-old boy was killed and three other teens injured in a golf cart crash Wednesday evening in Williamson County.

BYRON, N.Y. – Two people were taken to the hospital after a car struck a golf cart near the corner of North Byron Road and Route 237 in the town of Byron, according to Genesee County Sheriff.

Golf carts are, by design, supposed to be safe. Most have accelerator governors that don’t let them reach speeds over 15 mph; they are weighted down with heavy engines and batteries and are hard to tip; and they typically are used on only smooth paved paths or manicured grass fairways.

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, however, reports that injuries from being hit by or falling off of golf carts surged 132 percent from 1990 to 2006. Nearly 150,000 people, ranging in age from 2 months to 96 years, were hurt in golf cart accidents during that time. One reason, according to the Journal, may be that golf carts have become much faster and more powerful. Reaching speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and traveling as far as 40 miles on a single charge, golf carts now offer quick travel in a variety of venues. They routinely used at sporting events, hospitals, airports, parks, college campuses, businesses and military bases, the study authors noted. In some gated and retirement communities, golf carts have become the primary means of transportation.

But golf carts typically aren’t subject to federal regulations, and users often don’t even need a driver’s license to operate one (In Florida, children as young as 14 can legally drive a golf cart). Many don’t have seat belts or stability mechanisms, and a common injury involves people falling off, particularly from the back. A recent study in Georgia showed alcohol was a factor in about 59% of golf cart accidents. Additionally, many fleets of carts aren’t regularly or properly maintained to detect potential safety hazards. These and countless other factors contribute to the likelihood of an accident.

CED Investigative Technologies has mechanical engineers, accident reconstructionists and human factors experts who have investigated various golf cart accidents all over the country. If you have a case involving a golf cart, pease call us today at 800.780.4221 to discuss a possible case.