ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A new law will increase the legal age to drive a golf cart in Florida.
Anyone under the age of 18 will soon need to have a permit or driver’s license to drive a golf cart.
Under the current law, you must be at least 14 years old to drive a golf cart on public roads.
There has been a growing concern about the number of accidents happening in Florida involving young teens and golf carts. This new law is hoping to change that.
Candace Montgomery lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, a place where it’s popular to drive golf carts around, especially for teens.
She said in 2019, she was leaving a plaza after grocery shopping when a golf cart with two teenagers inside slammed into her SUV.
“He mushed the accelerator turned the wheel and oversteered into my parked car,” Montgomery said.
The two teens survived.
Then in 2021, a 15-year-old in St. Johns County nearly lost his life while driving a golf cart.
These accidents are what prompted local Florida Representative Cyndi Stevenson to file House Bill 949.
“It really brought it to life that it was a significant problem,” Stevenson said.
Gov. DeSantis signed the bill which will go into effect on Oct. 1.
The law doesn’t specify an eligible age to start driving golf carts. However, it does state all minors must have a permit or driver’s license to legally drive a golf cart in Florida. You must be at least 15 years old to get a permit in Florida and have parental consent.
Montgomery said the law is a long time coming.
“I think it’s a good first step,” she said. “I think there’s a mindset of the amount of damage that a golf cart can do. I think a lot of people see them as relatively harmless. I also think there’s a mindset, if you watch the kids, they drive them like toys.”
Nationwide, more than 6,500 children are injured by golf carts every year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Montgomery said she hopes the new law is strictly enforced by officers when that time comes.