Changing golf cart rules not on the radar

Two golf carts head east on Avenue G just after sunset on Sunday, August 21. While confusion has arisen among some over whether the state allows golf carts to operate on public roads at night, Port Aransas City Manager Dave Parsons said it’s not illegal to Port Aransas. Staff photo by Dan Parker

City officials say a tragic crash in Galveston that recently killed four people in a golf cart is not creating a rush for tougher regulations in Port Aransas.

City manager David Parsons noted the Aug. 7 crash has not prompted anyone to seek a review and make changes to local golf cart operation. “I don’t know where the council will go, but no one has talked about it,” he said.

Immediately after the fatal late-night crash that involved a suspected drunk driver running a stop sign and colliding with a truck that was pushed into the golf cart, Galveston Mayor Craig Brown rushed to Committed to stricter city rules governing popular tourist vehicles. He said an overnight ban on golf carts operating on streets may be needed — a move that had previously been considered because some officials believe state law prohibits golf carts on public roads after the nightfall.

Confusion has arisen over whether state law allows golf carts to be operated on public roads at night due to references in the Texas Transportation Code to Section 551.401 stating that golf carts do not can only be used during the day to reach a golf course. A similar statement is made by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles on its website.

This has led some public officials and journalists to believe that all night driving of golf carts on public roads is illegal. But Parsons noted that other provisions of the code in section 551.404 allow a county or municipality to establish local rules allowing 24-hour operation if the public road speed limit does not exceed 35. mph as there is no reference to the day. “They’re wrong,” Parsons said. “There is no opinion from the Attorney General on this. We watched.”

Parsons added that the Texas legislature, which he says is becoming more lenient on modes of transportation, is unlikely to make the code stricter for golf carts.

“The way Texas is changing, it’s becoming more and more open to any type of transportation,” he said. “It seems their philosophy is why we care about the mode of transport used as long as it is used safely, without speeding and without recklessness. I don’t see an accident sending everyone running for the hills.

Parsons said he was surprised that a similar fatal accident involving a golf cart had not yet been seen in Port Aransas.

Police Chief Scott Burroughs agreed with Parsons’ view on the likelihood of a fatal golf cart accident occurring. “Do I think our first golf cart fatality is likely to kill multiple people?” he said. “Yes.”

Burroughs said he saw no need for stricter regulations. “Between state laws and city ordinances, we have a fairly comprehensive set of regulations governing golf cart operations in the port. Aransas,” he said. “Unless the powers that be find a way to legislate with common sense, I can’t think of any new proposals I would recommend at this time.

Burroughs noted that risk is part of everyday life. “Since the Golf Cart Ordinance came into force (in 2013), approximately 20 people have drowned on our beaches and half a dozen have been killed by drunk drivers,” he said. . “The fact is, over the past 10 years, we’ve had more skateboarders and pedestrians killed on our streets than golf cart operators or passengers.”

Mayor Wendy Moore said City Council reviews the golf cart issue at least once a year and it will likely be discussed due to the Galveston tragedy. “I think it’s something that’s on everyone’s mind all the time,” she said. “I think as a city we should always look and review and see if there’s a way to do things better.”

Contact David Webb at [email protected]