Nocatee meeting focuses on golf cart safety

Meeting comes after teens hurt in falls from golf carts in St. Johns County

By Corley Peel - Reporter

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - The boom in golf carts in Nocatee is prompting safety concerns.

That's why the Northeast Florida Sheriff's Advisory and the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office discussed golf cart safety at a meeting Wednesday night at Nocatee Crosswater Hall. 

"I think that everyone that moves in gets a golf cart now, so I think there are more golf carts than there are cars -- pretty close," said Nocatee resident Charlene Doll, who was among roughly 50 people who attended the meeting.

The meeting aimed to protect families by educating them about the dos and don'ts of driving golf carts based on the county ordinance and the Sheriff's Office's recommendations. Among the concerns raised was speeding.

"Golf carts are only designed to go 20 mph, so you don't want your golf cart to go over 20 mph," Sheriff's Office Cmdr. Scott Beaver said. 

According to the Sheriff's Office, drivers should follow traffic laws on golf carts like they would any other vehicle. 

Golf cart safety was one of the main topics of a state of the county meeting in May in Nocatee. During that meeting, St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar said golf cart-related accidents were becoming so frequent that he was planning a golf cart safety campaign. The following month, the Sheriff's Office warned parents about letting their children get behind the wheel of a golf cart.

The age limit to drive a golf car in Florida is 14. But over the last year, there have been a couple of golf cart incidents involving teenagers in St. Johns County. A teenage girl was seriously injured in January when she fell from the rear of a golf cart and hit her head on the driveway of a home off State Road 16. In July, according to deputies, six children were on a golf cart when someone set off a firework and a teenage boy hit his head on the road

“We see children driving them, some erratically. Some are OK. Just the age limits, some are too young to be driving," Doll said. "You have to be very cautious because there are a number of them out there, crossing the roads. Over by the restaurants you have to be able to be paying close attention to what you're doing." 

Doll said the safety effort is crucial to keep the community safe and make sure sure others don't get into accidents. 

As part of the Sheriff's Office's golf cart safety campaign, deputies said they plan to hold golf cart operators classes in the future. They said they also plan to put deputies on golf carts to patrol the area better.

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