Florida Representative Cyndi Stevenson filed House Bill 949 Monday, a bill that would improve safe operation of golf carts and other utility vehicles. The bill would apply to drivers of golf carts and utility vehicles when they are operating on public roads.
It would increase minimum age of drivers from 14 to 16, and it would require a learner’s permit or higher.
“The passage of this bill will reduce accidents and serious injuries,” Representative Stevenson said. “I am grateful to St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick who brought this important issue to my attention.”
INTERVIEW: Warning about golf cart crashes in St. Johns County
Golf carts are increasingly being used off of golf courses and on public roads. Research shows that crashes cause significant injuries to children, specifically to the head and neck.
In April, 2022, an 11-year-old was critically injured following a golf cart crash in Putnam County. The child was wearing a seatbelt but was partially ejected and pinned under the cart. In October 2021, a 15-year-old St. Johns County boy nearly died in a golf cart crash when he and his friends were on their way to another house to watch a movie for the night. And in July 2019, a 14-year-old was critically injured when someone set off a firework from the golf cart he was in, causing the teen to fall off the back and hit his head. He was placed in a medically-induced coma, but has since recovered.
“The safety and security of our citizens and visitors is our number one priority at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Hardwick said. “This legislation will help to ensure those utilizing golf carts are better equipped to operate them. I am thankful Representative Stevenson has agreed to lead the charge on this effort and I look forward to working with her on getting this bill passed.”