06 Jun 2019
I was injured in a golf cart accident in Tampa. What do I do now?
Posted By Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez
Golf Cart Accidents in Tampa: More Dangerous than Expected
While it might not be so surprising that Florida has the most golf courses in the United States. You may be shocked to learn that Florida has the more golf carts on public roadways than any other state.
Tampa Bay is a particular hot spot for these electric carts to be on city streets and roadways. From Sun City Center to Dunedin, people are using golf carts to cruise around town, run errands, and commute short distances. You may have seen people zipping down Sunset Drive in Lutz or enjoying the scenery along North Rome Avenue. Local reports show golf carts outfitted for street-legal use have risen 25% in sales during the past five years, and the trend is steadily climbing.
Yet, the growing popularity of golf carts for street use is being met with equally high accident statistics.
Frequency of electric golf cart accidents in Tampa
Each year, approximately 15,000 golf-cart related accidents occur nationwide. The data was taken from a study conducted by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine that found 150,000 people had been injured in golf-cart related accidents over a 10-year span. The victims ranged in age from two months to 96 years old.
A quick internet search of “golf car accidents” revealed the following stories, posted within the past three months.
The Villages, Florida: A woman struck by a golf cart dies from injuries
Tulsa, Oklahoma: A student is killed and five others injured in a golf cart accident
Robeson County, North Carolina: A teenager is killed in a golf car accident
Las Vegas, Nevada: A 12-year-old boy dies is killed in a car accident
Houston, Texas: Police officer fights for life after golf cart accident
Why are golf carts so dangerous?
Golf carts are not engineered for rollover accidents, yet 50% of golf cart accidents involve vehicle flips, rollovers, or ejections. Further, golf carts are viewed as recreational vehicles, which tends to lessen the seriousness of obeying the laws of the road. For example, many motorists do not yield to golf carts, placing both parties at risk. Also, alcohol is a factor in over 59% of golf car accidents, as noted in a study in Georgia.
Finally, golf carts leave users incredibly exposed. Unlike regular vehicles, with airbags, seat belts, and steel frames, golf carts lack the standard safety features that help keep us safe in the event of an accident. Under Florida law, golf cart operators and passengers do not have to wear a seat belt if the golf cart remains under 20 mph.
Driving a golf cart on public roads: 5 safety tips
If you’re operating a golf cart on Tampa’s public roads, review the following tips to keep yourself and others safe.
- Slow down when turning
Golf carts do not have the stability mechanisms to handle sharp, fast turns. Passengers have a greater risk of falling out while turning.
- Avoid sidewalks
Even though golf carts can travel at a leisurely pace, do not operate carts on sidewalks. Throughout Tampa, there are community ordinances and signs of where to drive carts.
- Don’t drink while driving
As with operating any type of vehicle, don’t consume alcohol while driving and don’t drive impaired.
- Use proper signals
Most golf carts don’t have turn signals. Rely on hand signals to inform other motorists of your intentions.
- Be alert
Remain vigilant while driving and understand that other motorists may not obey traffic laws. Anticipate the actions of others and be patient.
Tampa Bay golf cart accidents
If you’ve been injured in a Tampa Bay golf cart accident, the personal injury law firm of Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez has the experience and expertise to protect your and your family’s future.
We have been serving clients throughout the Tampa Bay area since 1999. Led by Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney, Nadine Diaz, our firm is recognized as a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®. We specialize in auto accidents, slip and fall injuries, products liability, premises liability, and all other types of personal injury accidents.
Call 813-774-3341 today to schedule a free case evaluation with our highly-experienced, highly-praised team.