If you live in certain South Carolina communities, chances are you’ve seen increasing numbers of golf carts on your neighborhood roads. Many people find golf carts a convenient means of getting around. But you might be wondering: Are golf carts legal on streets?
The answer is yes, under certain circumstances, but several requirements and restrictions apply.
Differentiating Golf Carts from Other Vehicles
Golf carts are distinct from other motor vehicles in several key ways:
- Size and speed – Golf carts are much smaller and slower than cars, trucks, and SUVs. They typically do not exceed speeds of 15 mph. Their light weight and low power make them ideal for short trips around neighborhoods, golf courses, or campuses. However, these features also mean they offer less protection in crashes.
- Intended use – Golf carts are designed for recreation, not as a primary means of transportation. While they may be street-legal in some states, they lack standard safety features like airbags and crush-resistant frames.
- Licensing and registration – In South Carolina, golf cart owners must license and register their golf carts with the DMV to operate them on public roads. Other motor vehicles, like cars and motorcycles, have separate licensing procedures.
Laws on Operating a Golf Cart on Public Roads and Streets in SC
In South Carolina, golf carts can be street-legal. However, the following stipulations apply:
- The golf cart must be covered by liability insurance and registered with the DMV.
- The golf cart must display a state-issued golf cart permit decal, and the registration papers must be carried at all times.
- Golf carts are not permissible on roads with a speed limit above 35 mph. However, they may cross roads with higher-speed traffic if they can do so safely.
- Drivers may only operate their golf carts within four miles of the golf cart’s registered address, within four miles of a point of entrance or exit to a gated community, or on an island that does not have a bridge accessible to automobiles.
- Golf carts are allowed on public roads during daylight hours only.
- Golf cart drivers must be 16 or older with a valid driver’s license.
- Drivers must not operate golf carts under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Golf cart drivers must obey all other traffic laws pertaining to other motor vehicles.
What Happens If a Golf Cart Is Involved in a Crash?
Because golf carts do not afford the protection of passenger vehicles, golf cart occupants can suffer severe and even life-threatening injuries if they are involved in a collision with a larger vehicle. Golf cart drivers can also cause crashes that injure the occupants of other vehicles, as well as pedestrians and cyclists. Whoever caused the accident could be held liable for any injury-related losses. Hospital bills, lost income due to missed time at work, and pain and suffering damages can be substantial.
If the individual driving the golf cart violated any of South Carolina’s golf cart laws, they may also face a $100 fine or 30 days in jail.
Get Help from Our South Carolina Golf Cart Accident Lawyers
If you have suffered injuries in a golf cart accident in South Carolina, get in touch with Jebaily Law Firm as soon as possible. Our experienced golf cart accident attorneys are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.