Most parents – and children – will have wondered how old do you have to be to drive a golf cart at some point or another. This is actually a valid question considering that there are laws in place for such instances. In addition to this, the regulations can change according to the state as well as the circumstances.
As such, you will find that there isn’t just one, clear-cut answer to this question. Thus, to get a better idea of the age requirements for driving a golf cart, you will need to see the whole picture.
On this note, here is what you need to know:
State Age Requirements
The first thing to know is that each state has its own rules regarding the age requirements for driving a golf cart. As a result, what may be considered an acceptable age in one place will be illegal in another. This is why it is important to always check the rules and regulations if you are considering letting a minor drive a golf cart.
In most states, a child has to be at least 14 years of age to be able to drive a golf cart.
In other places such as Texas, the driver has to be around 16 years old. Then, there are states such as California and South Carolina that allow children above the age of 13 to drive golf carts.
The Definition of a Golf Cart
It should also be noted that the legal definition of a golf cart can change from state to another. Most states will mention seat capacity, overall weight, and maximum speed when determining whether or not a particular vehicle can be deemed as a golf cart.
If a golf cart is heavier or faster than the local law, then it may be classified as a motor vehicle. In this case, the driver would be expected to follow the regulations typically reserved for cars and trucks. This includes the legal driving age as well.
Do You Need a License to Drive a Golf Cart?
Once again, the answer isn’t as straightforward as most people would imagine. This is because, in certain states such as Texas, you must have a regular driving license to drive a golf cart on public property. Therefore, the driver often has to be at least sixteen years of age.
Now, this isn’t a law that every state has adopted.
In most areas, you are not required to have a driving license to operate a golf cart. However, it should be noted that this stipulation is only in place for vehicles that are legally defined as golf carts.
If the golf cart that you wish to drive is heavier or faster than what is deemed acceptable, then other state laws come into play.
In this case, you may be required to have a traditional driving license before you are allowed to drive the vehicle on public property.
Can You Be Charged with Traffic Violations?
Although it may seem rather incredulous, you can receive traffic violations if you are driving on public roads or property (please don’t gamble with this). Therefore, if you are getting behind the wheel of a golf cart, then you must be aware of the local driving regulations. Golf cart drivers are expected to maintain the speed limit and drive safely. Also, you can be fined if you are driving in an area that does not allow golf carts, such as sections of the highway.
Driving on Private Property
Now, most of these rules and regulations – including the age requirements – is for driving golf carts on public property. However, they don’t extend to private property. In these instances, it is up to the owners of the private property to set the regulations.
For example, there are certain golf courses that will place age restrictions on the drivers. There are also though that will require drivers to drive below a certain speed. In these cases, you will have to follow these regulations or risk losing certain freedoms.
So, what about if the driving is done on a property that you own? Well, then you have a final say in who drives the golf cart and how it is different. Keep in mind that you will still be susceptible to child endangerment laws if you choose to let minors drive the carts.
Considering Capabilities and Safety
If you would like to let a minor drive a golf cart on your own property, it is important to keep safety in mind. Just because you are legally allowed to let a youngster drive, doesn’t mean that you should. This is particularly true in the case of heavier vehicles.
Keep in mind, if the golf cart in question is heavier, it will be more difficult to control. This increases the likelihood of flipping or turning over the cart while driving it. Carts that have been modified to go faster may pose a similar threat.
It should also be noted that not all individuals are equally as capable of driving a golf cart. After all, it does require certain skills and reflexes to do so. Thus, if you feel like a certain individual doesn’t meet these standards, then you should discourage them from driving.
Driving Tips for All Drivers
Even when driving a golf cart, there are some tips that all individuals should adhere to. This ensures the safety of the driver, the passengers, and the people around as well. Here are the top ones to remember:
- Be as responsible as if you were driving a regular vehicle
- Always wear your seatbelt
- Always follow posted speed limits
- Slow down when turning
- Be careful when driving on rough terrain
- Avoid driving at night
- Use the horn to notify others of your presence
- Watch your speed when driving up or down a slope
This is what you need to know about the age requirements for driving a golf cart. As a result, you should now have a better idea of what is and isn’t allowed. This will make it easier for you to adhere to the letter of public and private laws where you live.