Georgia Golf Cart Accidents on the Rise
When most people think of motor vehicle accidents that cause injury, they tend to envision cars, pickups, van, SUVs, tractor-trailers, or even motorcycles. Since golf carts generally travel at a speed of 15 to 20 miles per hour, individuals who use these motorized carts on or off the golf course might discount the risk of a collision that causes serious injury.
However, the number of golf cart accidents has grown in recent years in Georgia and other states that are home to year round play and golf cart communities. During a recent sixteen year period, golf cart accidents rose 132 percent according to The American Journal of Preventative Medicine. Almost 150,000 people suffered injury in golf cart crashes over that period. While golf might be considered a recreational activity primarily enjoyed by adults and seniors, nine years old is the average age for a golf cart accident victim.
The increased use of golf carts for non-traditional purposes partially explains the rise in golf car use and accidents. These vehicles are often used for transportation at businesses, amusement parks, college campuses, sporting events, airports, military bases, hospitals, and national parks. A growing number of gated and retirement communities also allow golf carts to share the roadways with cars, trucks and SUVs. In many of these communities, golf carts serve as the primary means of transportation within the boundaries of the development or city.
An investigator for Nationwide Children's Hospital for Injury Research and Policy provides a couple of suggestions for improving golf cart safety. First, stock golf carts are not designed with the safety standards and equipment appropriate for the transportation of children, so use of golf carts for the transport of kids should be discouraged. The investigator also suggests that public and private entities that permit use of golf carts consider the following safety measures, among others:
• Require all operators to possess a driver's license
• Mandate users complete an approved course on golf cart safety
• Establish golf cart safety policies and rules
• Communities and government entities consider golf carts in the design of landscapes and pathways
Some of the common causes of golf cart accidents and injuries include, but are not limited to:
Lack of Protective Gear: Golf carts are fairly unstable vehicles with a narrow wheel base. They also lack seat belts, air bags, or even doors to protect vehicle occupants. Individuals riding on golf carts generally do not wear any form of safety gear like a helmet.
Alcohol Intoxication: One study of golf cart operators in Georgia indicated that alcohol was a factor in nearly sixty percent of crashes.
Excessive Speed: While standard golf carts are designed to travel at a maximum speed of 15 to 20 miles per hour, this limit on speed is accomplished by use of a governor which limits the top end flat ground speed by preventing rpms from exceeding recommended expectations. An increasing number of people are removing governors, or golf carts are being manufactured or modified to travel at speeds of forty miles per hour and higher. Traveling at or near highway speeds in vehicles that lack safety equipment, stability, and a protective frame make the risk of permanent injury extremely high.
Excessive Loading of Passengers: As a general rule, golf carts should never be loaded with more occupants than the vehicle is designed to transport. Most golf carts are designed to accommodate two people per seat. When the vehicle is overloaded, the inherent instability of a golf cart increases along with the risk of a rollover accident.
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If you have been injured in a golf cart collision, our experienced Atlanta golf cart accident lawyers work diligently to pursue the fullest compensation for our clients. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
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