U.S. Open Mishap Shines Spotlight on Florida Golf Cart Accidents

One of golf’s four major championships took place last weekend and, in addition to a fantastic fight to the finish between a relatively unknown in the golf world, Gary Woodland, and golf’s most recent wunderkind Brooks Koepka, it was marked by a mishap with a golf cart that injured five people and sent two to the hospital.

The U.S. Open Championship took place at the famed Pebble Beach golf course in California and, although it marked the first major championship victory of professional golfer Gary Woodland’s career, it was overshadowed by an incident that involved a runaway golf cart during the tournament’s second round on Friday.  This unfortunate incident took place in California but shines a spotlight on the issue of injuries caused by golf carts.  This is particularly a problem for Floridians, given that the Sunshine State has more golf courses than any other state in the country and has some of the highest rates golf cart use in the country for transportation purposes.  Although golf carts are a convenient means of transport for many in the Sunshine State, particularly those of advanced years who may no longer be comfortable behind the wheel of a car, they also can be hazardous given the way many people drive them. In addition, the tendency to drive golf carts on public roads, where their lack of safety equipment and the vision issues some golf cart operators suffer from, can make for a very dangerous combination indeed.

The U.S. Open Championship Golf Cart Incident

 A report from USA Today’s Golf Week noted that the incident occurred when a box being loaded by a vendor at the U.S. Open Championship onto the vendor’s golf cart fell onto the cart’s accelerator.  This caused the cart to accelerate forward, plowing into a group of people.  Four spectators and the vendor himself were injured by the cart before the vendor was able to finally stop the cart, police said.  The incident happened at 10:15 a.m. near the 16th fairway at Pebble Beach while play was under way on Friday, June 14th during the tournament’s second round.  Two of the five people injured ended up being sent to a community hospital in nearby Monterey for treatment for their injuries.  The injured spectators ranged in age from 25 to 82 and hailed from California, Texas and Utah.

Florida Golf Cart Accidents 

Although this recent incident at the U.S. Open seems to fall more in the category of freak occurrence than the type of golf cart-motor vehicle accident that is more commonly in the news, injuries and even deaths involving golf carts are much more common than many people realize, particularly in a state with as many golf carts as Florida.  Whether being driven on a golf course or utilized as a neighborhood mode of transportation, the number of golf carts in Florida is extremely high.  With the most golf courses of any state in the country and a large population of seniors and retirees who use golf carts as their primary mode of transport, these vehicles are more widely used in Florida than in just about any other state in the country.  However, the abundance of golf carts in Florida, and in particular the number of accidents and injuries that occur as a result of their use, is due to more than simply the large number of golf courses in the state.

Florida also has a large number of gated and retirement communities, where many people may choose to use golf carts as their primary method of transportation even after they have stopped driving cars.  This dramatically increases the number of Florida golf cart accidents, given that many of these people may not be used to sharing the road with motor vehicles, may be driving with less-than-ideal vision, or may not make the same decisions as the average driver in a passenger vehicle would, all of which can lead to accidents.

Laws Regulating the Use of Golf Carts in Florida

Florida law currently allows any person over the age of 14 to drive a golf cart without having to pass a driving test or even needing to have a valid driver’s license.  In addition, and more importantly for those who may use golf carts who no longer can or want to drive a car, there is no vision test or other required screening for operating a golf cart in Florida.  Additionally, no approved safety features are mandated on golf carts and seat belts are only required if a person is driving over 20 miles per hour while using a golf cart.  Nevertheless, while all these factors do make golf carts a convenient alternative to having a car for many Floridians, they are a recipe for disaster, as illustrated by the frequency of Florida golf cart accidents.

Contact Schwed Adams & McGinley if You Have Been Injured in a Florida Golf Cart Accident

At Schwed Adams & McGinley, our experienced personal injury attorneys have decades of legal experience representing those injured in a wide variety of scenarios, including those persons injured in Florida golf cart accidents.  Although golf carts can be a convenient means of transportation for those who may otherwise not be able to drive or in getting around the golf course, accidents involving golf carts can and do occur with regularity, particularly in the Sunshine State.  If you have been the victim of a Florida golf cart accident, you may be entitled to substantial damages if you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence.   Therefore if you have been injured in a Florida golf cart accident, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys today at contact@schwedlaw.com or (877) 694-6079 today.