On July 1, 2023, Florida law changed regarding teens driving golf carts. What changed, and is it really needed?
Section 316.212, Florida Statutes, governs the operation of golf carts on roadways. Previously, it provided that golf carts could not be operated on public roads or streets by anyone under the age of 14.
The new law requires any operator under the age of 18 to possess “a valid learner’s driver license or valid driver license.” Those 18 or older need only have “a valid form of government-issued photographic identification.”
So, what exactly is a “golf cart?” Florida law provides that a “golf cart” is “a motor vehicle that is designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and that is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 miles per hour.” Section 320.01(22), Florida Statutes.
Many view golf carts as harmless, and they are frequently seen in residential neighborhoods being operated by children aged 14 – or even younger. Our firm has handled many golf cart accidents. The resulting carnage has ranged from death to serious brain injury to broken bones. We have previously noted that golf carts are “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” because their danger is not obvious.
Indeed, golf carts seem totally harmless. The true danger is magnified in the hands of an immature driver who has not been trained to operate a motor vehicle.
We believe strongly that the change in the law was needed and will increase safety throughout the State of Florida. The age of 14 is simply too young for someone to drive a golf cart on the roadway.
Sadly, even with this needed change in the law, there will still be golf cart accidents. Lesser, Lesser, Landy and Smith stands ready to help if you, your friends, or your family are ever involved in a golf cart accident or any type of major accident.
Mickey Smith is a Shareholder in Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, PLLC and Nationally Board-Certified Civil Trial Lawyer with more than 35 years of litigation experience.