Tragic accident sparks golf cart safety discussion

FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Golf cart safety laws are under the microscope in South Carolina. While they might not seem intimidating, several teens and adults have either been killed or injured on golf carts, including a 13-year-old boy in Dorchester County last week.

Whether you are looking for a quicker way to get around or are trying to save gas, golf carts are the answer for many people.

After recent accidents, including Friday's tragedy, many are wondering if the laws are strict enough.

"They can be as safe of a transportation as any other mode and they can be as dangerous as you want to make them," says Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin.

Goodwin says golf carts are always on the roads in Folly Beach. He says police enforce the rules of the state when it comes to golf carts.

Drivers must be at least 16 years old with a license and a golf cart permit in order to operate a golf cart. Golf carts can't be driven after dusk and the farthest you can drive them is two miles away from your home or office.

Golf carts are only to be driven on secondary roads. On Folly Beach, Center Street is a primary road.

"You can drive east to west but not north to south," Goodwin said.

Rep. Chip Limehouse says the golf cart laws may not be strict enough.

"Golf carts are not toys and you can get hurt badly in a golf cart," Limehouse said.

Limehouse added that seatbelts are just one safety precaution he would like to see required.

"I think another thing to look at is head protection," Limehouse said. "That might be something we need to look at. We need to hold hearings, find out what other states are doing and go from there."

There have been at least seven accidents across the state this year. The victim in Friday's accident fell out of the golf cart sometime after school. He died Sunday from head trauma.

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