What Makes Golf Carts in Port Charlotte Street Legal?

There are many advantages to driving golf carts in Port Charlotte as opposed to a full-sized automobile. For one thing, golf carts are more affordable and environmentally friendly than traditional automobiles. Many people (especially in retirement communities) opt to use a golf cart as their primary mode of transportation. But is it legal to drive a golf cart on the street? The answer to this question is complicated because the rules regarding the street legality of golf carts in Port Charlotte will differ from other cities in other states. The following is a list of some southern U. S. States where driving a golf cart on the street is more common and their respective regulations regarding this use of golf carts.

Alabama – In general Alabama does not permit golf carts to operate on public roadways. However, it does allow the registration of Low Speed Vehicles to be driven on streets. Low-speed vehicles (LSVs) must conform to federal and state regulations regarding safety, emissions and anti-theft protections. Alabama requires all LSVs to have a 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) along with a Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin certifying the LSV complies with state and Federal Regulations. For more information click here.

Arizona – State law does not require golf carts to be titled or registered if not driven on public roads. Small, four wheeled vehicles used to travel from one part of a golf course to another can be driven on public roads as long as they are registered and carry liability insurance. Registered and insured golf carts can only drive on roads with a speed of less than 35 miles per hour and must comply with Federal regulations. For more information click here.

Florida – According to state law the operation of a golf cart upon the public roads or streets of this state is prohibited except under certain circumstances. The law states specifically that a “golf cart may be operated only upon a county road that has been designated by a county, or a municipal street that has been designated by a municipality, for use by golf carts…” In general a golf cart may be used to cross a street not designated for use by golf carts but there are many exceptions and technicalities to this rule. Moreover a golf cart must conform to state and Federal law regarding safety and emissions. Again the Florida statute regulating the street use of a golf cart is extensive and anyone considering using a golf cart in this manner should make sure they are in compliance with the law. Obviously these regulations apply to golf carts in Port Charlotte as well. See Florida State Code 316.212.

Georgia – The driving of PTVs in Georgia is restricted by law to specific designated roadways. State law defines a “personal transportation vehicle” (PTV) as having a minimum of four wheels, capable of traveling 20 miles per hour or greater, weighing 1,375 pounds or less and cannot not accommodate more than eight people. A PTV specifically does not include all terrain vehicles, wheelchairs and scooters used by disabled people. All PTVs must comply with safety regulations regarding breaks, reverse warning devices, lights, reflectors and other requirements. For more information click here.

Louisiana – The driving of golf carts in Louisiana is restricted by law to specific designated roadways. Golf carts are allowed to cross certain highways in specifically designated areas. A valid drivers license is required to cross certain roadways in a golf cart. The Louisiana statute governing the operation of golf carts on roadways contains specific provisions for specific areas of the state. For more information click here.

Mississippi – State law defines a golf cart as a motor vehicle that is designated and manufactured for operation of a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 miles per hour.” The golf cart must comply with Federal safety regulations. Golf carts are permitted on specifically designated roadways and are limited to the shortest possible distance between a person’s residence and destination. The operation of a golf cart is also restricted to daylight hours only. For more information click here.

New Mexico – State law generally prohibits the operation of a golf cart on public road ways. There is some degree of ambiguity as to whether municipalities can provide for exceptions to this law. For more information click here.

North Carolina – State law defines a golf cart as a “vehicle designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course, for sporting or recreational purposes, and that is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 mph.” The regulation of golf carts driving on public roads is governed on the county level. Accordingly, the rules can change depending on what part of the state one happens to be. However, counties can only allow the operation of golf carts on roads where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less. For more information click here.South Carolina – State law regulates golf cart and low speed electric vehicle usage on public streets. The South Carolina DMV issues decal permits which allow the owner of a golf cart to (in general) drive it within a four mile radius of his or her residence, on secondary roads where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less during daylight hours. The driver must be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license and liability insurance. For more information click here.

Texas – State law generally prohibits the operation of golf carts on public roads with some exceptions. A golf cart is defined by state law as a vehicle having no less than “3 wheels” with a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour and is manufactured primarily for driving on a golf course. The Texas DMV does not register or title golf carts. Golf carts are allowed in certain planned communities during the day time on roads where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less. Municipalities can allow for the use of golf carts on specifically designated roads as long as the golf cart operator is insured and complies with safety regulations. For more information click here.

The operation of Golf carts in Port Charlotte is regulated by state law. This article only provides a thumbnail sketch of the regulations regarding the operation of golf carts in Port Charlotte and in certain southern states. It is always best to check with the state DMV to determine whether the golf carts are permitted in any specific locality.

 

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