Whittel & Melton Discuss Golf Cart Accident Injuries
Originally designed for golfers to save time and energy from having to walk across an 18-hole golf course, golf carts are now being seen utilized at airports and even in residential areas for easy modes of transportation. While golf carts may seem harmless, they actually cause thousands of injuries across the United States every year.
Since more golf carts are being used off of the golf course, the number of accident injuries has actually grown 130 percent in the last 15 years. In the 90s, around 5,000 golf cart accident injuries were reported annually. Nowadays, around 13,000 golf cart accident injuries are reported every year.Golf Cart Injuries Vs. Car Accident Injuries
While it is obvious that car accident injuries are more common than golf cart accident injuries due to the fact that there are more cars on the road than carts, it is important to take a look at why golf cart accident injuries are on the rise. The following are just a few of the possible reasons.
- Increased Cart Usage. People, communities and business across the country are starting to use golf carts for many things other than to get around on the putting green. The majority of golf cart use 15 years ago was on the actual golf course. Today, residential communities like The Villages are swapping their automobiles for golf carts as their main form of transportation. Golf carts are being seen everywhere – on roadways, at sporting arenas, campuses, zoos, airports and shopping arenas. Nearly two-thirds of golf cart accidents occur at sport and recreational facilities, while another third of accidents happen on the street and on private properties.
- Lack of Government Regulation. The lack of regulation surrounding the use of golf carts is just another reason why accidents and injuries are steadily increasing. The same federal laws that control who can operate a car are not the same for golf carts. In many areas, a driver’s license is not even required to operate a golf cart and there aren’t any restrictions on age. Children, the elderly and all other people who would not legally be able to obtain a driver’s license to operate car are often seen behind the wheel of a golf cart in Florida and throughout the United States. In fact, golf cart injuries are most common in young male drivers and elderly male drivers over the age of 80. Golf cart accident injuries can cause severe head or brain trauma, fractures, lacerations and spinal cord damage.
- Lack of Safety Mechanisms. Golf carts lack certain safety features, like seat belts, which is another cause of golf cart accident injuries. Golf carts are open vehicles, that lack doors and often have rear-facing seats located on the back of the cart that can easily eject passengers when taking sharp turns or driving over small bumps. Due to their height and light weight, golf carts are more prone to rollovers, which can result in serious head and neck injuries and contribute to the increased number of accidents being seen.
- Operating Golf Carts Under the Influence of Alcohol. Many people fail to follow motor vehicle laws when operating golf carts and do not follow the same safety precautions as they would when driving a car. It is against the law to operate any vehicle, including a golf cart, under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the state of Florida.
- Speed and Power of Golf Carts. Many golf carts are now capable of traveling 25 miles per hour and can reach as much as 40 miles on a fully charged battery. Their increased speed, power and ability to travel further distances have contributed to the number of golf cart accidents seen every year. It is becoming quite common to use golf carts as vehicles for actual transportation, and it is not uncommon to see golf carts sharing the roadway with other motor vehicles.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a golf cart accident in The Villages or any other community in Florida, contact The Villages Golf Cart Accident and Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Whittel & Melton, LLC online or call 352-369-5334.