Crash Course; Golf Carts Are More Hazardous Than They Look

Time reports that golf carts are more hazardous than they look (see article in June 30, 2008, issue,  p. 53).

Apparently, golf carts are being used outside the fairway in residential areas, such as retirement communities and suburban cul-de-sacs.  They provide cheap and energy efficient transportation through re-chargeable batteries.  There has been a spike in golf cart accidents, such as rollovers and collisions involving fractures, concusions, and other serious injuries.  According to the Center for Injury Research and Policy, cart-related injuries have jumped from 5,772 in 1990 to 13,411 in 2006, an increase of 132%.  It is interesting that the highest injury rates are the age group of males from 10 to 19 and males over 79.

A reason for the increased accident rate is that golf carts are getting faster.   Some go as fast as 25 mph (40 km/h), but they lack basic protections like seat belts or side rails.

Golf cart injuries are very rare, however, the injuries can be more serious than from a motor vehicle accident.  In a rollover or siginificant crash, the operator or the passengers can be thrown from the vehicle.   In my past experience at an insurance defense firm I was involved in a couple of golf cart cases; one involved paraplegia.

Golf carts can be dangerous vehicles.  They are not toys.  Children should not use them.  If a child is allowed to use one, then it should be under strict adult supervision.  Adults that use them should use the utmost, reasonable care.

In the event of a golf cart accident quick investigation is necessary.  Typically, the local police will not conduct an exhaustive investigation since this is not considered a motor vehicle accident.  it is imperative to call a lawyer as soon as possible to start the investigation.


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