The Hidden Dangers of Golf Carts in Florida
Though golfing is a relatively safe sport, with few incidents of serious injuries, the unsafe maneuvering of a golf cart can lead to a significantly dangerous situation for all involved. There are hundreds of golf courses within the state of Florida, and each of them include golf carts that players use to traverse the green areas between the holes. While golfing is widely characterized as a sport of relaxation, sometimes that peace and quiet is interrupted by a golf cart accident. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 10,000 golf cart injuries are seen in emergency rooms each year. Roughly 10% of these incidents are reportedly caused by the roll over of the golf cart, while 40% involve the ejection of a driver or passenger from the vehicle.
In Florida, golf carts are not relegated to the course. They are also commonly found within upscale housing subdivisions and retirement communities. While accident reports are not overly common, they do make their way into the news at times. In 2013, WINK News reported on a 22-year-old man who was charged with a DUI after a passenger fell from his golf cart, resulting in substantial injuries. An additional report surfaced regarding a crash between a golf cart and a car, which led to the hospitalization of four people.
Golf Cart Safety
The insurance website,esurance, gives the following tips for golf cart safety:
- Seat belts – Seat belts are valuable safety measures in golf carts. If the cart is not equipped with seat belts, esurance suggests that you find another one.
- Slow turns – Drivers should slow down when approaching turns, remembering that there are no doors to contain passengers within a golf cart. Passengers can reportedly be thrown from a cart during a turn at just 11 mph.
- Make your presence known – When approaching intersections or walkways, use the cart horn to alert others of your presence before proceeding.
- No drinking and driving – As with any motor vehicle, driving a golf cart requires concentration and a clear mind. Even though the carts are primarily used for recreational purposes, drinking alcohol while driving a golf cart is no different from drinking and driving a car.
- Keep off the sidewalks – The sidewalks are made for pedestrians, not golf carts. Driving on sidewalks can lead to serious injuries.
In Florida, the owner of a golf cart may be held liable for all damages caused by an authorized user of the cart. For this reason, many owners cover their carts as a rider to their homeowners insurance policies. Unfortunately, this insurance is often inadequate because it generally only covers property damage and not injury. But when injuries do occur, someone should be held responsible for the pain and financial burden that ensues. The services of an experienced lawyer are vital to this goal.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a golf cart accident, contact Pita & Del Prado in Miami for knowledgeable guidance and aggressive representation. Call 305-670-2889 today for a free consultation.