Can I Drive a Golf Cart Through Braselton?
Golf carts might not be able to drive 65 miles an hour, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see blue lights if you drive one off the course in Georgia. Under Georgia law, a golf cart is considered a motor vehicle. This means that you can get a DUI if the clubhouse proves too spirited. You must also have a valid driver’s license to operate one.
But before we get to those details, what is considered a golf cart? Generally, Georgia law defines a golf cart as any motorized vehicle designed to convey one or more persons and equipment to play the game of golf with an average speed of less than 15 miles per hour (OCGA § 40-1-1(17.3)). As the definition suggests, golf carts are considered motor vehicles.
Specific Provisions for Golf Carts
According to Georgia law, golf carts must be equipped with the following features before you can legally hit the road:
(1) A braking system sufficient for the weight and passenger capacity of the vehicle, including a parking brake;
(2) A reverse warning device functional at all times when the directional control is in the reverse position;
(3) A main power switch. When the switch is in the ‘off’ position, or the key or other device that activates the switch is removed, the motive power circuit shall be inoperative. If the switch uses a key, it shall be removable only in the ‘off’ position;
(4) Head lamps;
(5) Reflex reflectors;
(6) Tail lamps;
(7) A horn;
(8) A rearview mirror;
(9) Safety warning labels; and
(10) Hip restraints and hand holds or a combination thereof.
But, before you rush out to gear your golf cart up for a road trip, there is an important caveat to remember. Under Georgia law, a local ordinance must be adopted to permit drivers to use golf carts and other personal transportation devices on the roadways.
Absent the local ordinance, golf carts are not legal on local streets. The City of Braselton adopted a golf cart ordinance in 2012 and permits licensed drivers to operate golf carts on local streets and pathways.
Who Can Drive the Cart?
This brings us to the question of: Who may legally drive a golf cart on those local roads? Simply put, the rules are much more like the rules for driving a car than you might have guessed. By both local and state law, a person must be 16 years of age and have a valid motor vehicle license to operate a golf cart.
In Braselton, people who are at least 15 and who have an instructional permit are limited to one passenger, who must also be at least 15 years of age, unless the other passengers are immediate family members. A 15-year-old without an instructional permit must be accompanied by a licensed driver over the age of 18.
Those persons who are 12 years of age but not yet 15 years of age may drive a golf cart on recreation paths or streets if they are accompanied in the front seat by a parent, grandparent or legal guardian. No person under the age of 12 is permitted to drive a golf cart on the recreational paths or roadways under any circumstances.
Obey the Rules of the Road
Golf carts should only be used during daylight hours unless equipped with functional headlights and taillights. And, even if you do replace the engine, you really can’t go 65. Golf carts are not permitted to operate on any street if the posted speed limit exceeds 35 miles per hour. So, just remember to obey the law in your golf cart and, in the immortal words of Dean Martin, “If you drink, don’t drive. Don’t even putt.”
If you are arrested and charged with a DUI or otherwise improperly operating a golf cart in Braselton or the surrounding area, call the criminal defense attorneys at Andersen, Tate & Carr today at (770)-822-0900 or contact us online for a free consultation
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