CED first published an article titled “Golf Cart Accidents on the Rise” in 2012. We revisited the issue in 2015 and not a whole lot has changed since then. A quick internet search of “golf cart accidents” brought up these (and several other) stories, posted within the past two months:
Robeson County, NC- Teen killed in golf cart accident
Tulsa, OK- Student Dead, 5 Others Injured in Golf Cart Accident
Houston, TX- Police officer fights for life after golf cart accident
The Villages, FL- Woman struck by golf cart dies from injuries
Las Vegas, NV- 12-Year-Old Boy Dies in Golf Cart Accident
Golf carts are, by design, supposed to be safe. Most have accelerator governors that don’t let the carts reach speeds over 15 mph; they are weighted down with heavy engines and batteries and are hard to tip; and they typically are used only on 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 two 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. As noted by the study’s authors, golf carts are routinely used at sporting events, hospitals, airports, parks, college campuses, businesses and military bases. In some gated and retirement communities, golf carts have become the primary means of transportation.
A few other golf cart statistics that may surprise you:
• 40% of golf cart accidents involve a person falling out of the cart
• 10% of golf cart accidents involve rollovers
• Each year in the U.S., about 15,000 golf cart related injuries require emergency care
Golf carts typically aren’t subject to federal regulations, however, 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 golf carts don’t have seat belts or stability mechanisms, and a common injury involves people falling off, particularly from the back. A 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. It has been found in some instances that owners make mechanical alterations to golf carts, making the carts more dangerous. These are some of the factors that contribute to the possibility of a golf cart accident.
CED Technologies has mechanical engineers, accident reconstructionists and human factors experts who have investigated golf cart accidents all over the country. If you have a case involving a golf cart, call us at 1-800-780-4221 or contact us here.
Biomechanical / Mechanical Engineer