Do Golf Carts Have Seat Belts? (2023 Laws)
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Did you know that there are 13,000 golf cart-related accidents every year? This statistic might be surprising because you do not expect these tiny vehicles to be dangerous. The alarming number of golf cart accidents begs the question: do golf carts have seat belts?
Golf carts do not come with seat belts because they are not made for public roads, and they do not qualify as Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs). However, golf carts are the best option for golfers because they help the players move around and get in and out of the cart quickly.
As the name suggests, golf carts are for the golf course, but they have become more popular among retirees and…well, anyone who wants to drive around in a golf cart!
It is a common misconception that golf carts are not prone to accidents because they are small and have low speeds.
However, this is untrue!
You can fall off a cart or roll in it, especially on bumpy and steep terrains. So, whether they are LSVs or not, you should ensure that your golf carts have seat belts.
Let’s look at what the law says about golf carts and seat belts so you know what to do with your golf cart.
What are the Federal Seat Belt Laws for Golf Carts?
Seat belts on slow-moving vehicles like golf carts were seen as a hindrance to golfers who frequently exit and enter the carts during a game. That is until people began using golf carts as street vehicles, and the government was forced to amend the laws.
According to federal law, an LSV is any vehicle with a speed of 20-25 miles per hour. Traditional golf carts have lower speeds, but those you see on the streets qualify as LSVs. This is because people change the engine (and install the best 12 volt golf cart batteries) so the cart can move faster.
According to federal laws, all LSVs should have the following:
- Turn signals
- Brake lights
All golf cart drivers are also required by the law to register and insure their golf carts. You must also have a valid driver’s license if you plan to drive your golf cart on the streets.
The law also requires that you install as many seat belts as there are passengers on your golf cart. You will have to install the seat belts yourself as golf carts do not come with installed seat belts.
What are State Seat Belt Laws for Golf Carts?
As mentioned earlier, golf carts are becoming increasingly popular on the roads. So far, there are five states with specific golf cart road rules and 24 others that also regulate the use of golf carts on public roads.
State laws often echo federal laws, and it is no different in the case of golf carts. However, in states where golf carts are permitted on public roads, additional measures must be implemented.
For example, all golf carts that qualify as LSVs must abide by the federal LSV laws in Arizona.
Additionally, golf carts are only permitted on public roads not exceeding 35mph.
In North Carolina, you can drive golf carts without lights during the day strictly on secondary streets at 35mph speed. Besides that, all passengers in the golf cart must be wearing seatbelts.
Other states with specific regulations for golf carts include California, Georgia, and Florida. These three states are where golf carts have become the chosen mode of transport for many residents, especially those living in villages and retirement communities.
If you want to start using a golf cart as your primary mode of transport, you must refer to the state laws in your area regarding LSVs and golf carts.
Why Are Seat Belts Important for Your Golf Cart?
If you have ever driven a car, you know that wearing a seat belt is the best way to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones while driving.
Likewise, having seat belts in your golf cart will serve the same purpose, and that’s why it is necessary to install them immediately after you buy your golf cart.
Besides keeping you safe, you are following the law by having seat belts in your golf cart. If you are caught on the road in a golf cart without seat belts, you will have to pay significant fines or face jail time.
Other Golf Cart Safety Tips
Besides getting seat belts, there are other things you must do to ensure your and your passenger’s safety while driving a golf cart. Let’s start with the basics:
- Get to know your vehicle by reading the manual.
- Avoid using your golf light during rainy seasons when there is lightning
- Always make sure you are abiding with the state’s laws regarding golf carts
- Do not carry excess passengers on your golf cart
- A golf cart should be always be operated from the driver’s seat
- Engage the parking brake and permanently remove the keys when exiting the vehicle
What about when you are driving?
Follow these simple tips to keep you safe while driving a golf cart:
- Always follow the traffic rules and go only where the state permits you to drive your golf cart
- Always keep your hands, legs, feet, and arms inside the vehicle
- Accelerate only when the direction selector is in the correct position
- Change direction only when the golf cart comes to a complete stop
- Do not take sharp turns at full speed. Slow down first.
- Do not drive while distracted
- All passengers should be seated when a golf cart is moving
- Always give way to pedestrians
- All passengers should wear a seat belt on a moving golf cart
- Drive slowly on roads with poor conditions and rough terrains
- Avoid steep slopes and highly rough terrains
- Do not accelerate when going downhill
- Be mindful of sudden stops as they might make you lose control of your vehicle
Finally, you should always regularly take your golf cart for inspections and maintenance like any other vehicle. Doing this will help reduce the risk of accidents and improve safety for you and your passengers.
You should also check for any fluid leaks or tire inflation issues, among others, before driving your cart. Additionally, always ensure your vehicle documentation, including insurance, is up to date.