Some believe limiting golf cart use could help save lives while others believe the focus should be on cracking down on drunk driving.
GALVESTON, Texas — Galveston leaders are considering more restrictions on golf carts following a recent fatal accident on the island.
Four members of a Rosenberg family were killed on August 6 when police say an SUV drove through a stop sign at 33rd Street and Avenue R around 11.35pm and hit the golf cart in which they were.
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“This council realizes that the primary cause of the actions that brought about this accident was allegedly because of a drunk driver,” Mayor Craig Brown said at a council workshop on Thursday.
However, Brown said the island has also seen a “proliferation” of golf carts.
Since the council’s last update to the city’s golf cart ordinance in June 2021, police records show 32 accidents involving golf carts, including 13 listed on Seawall Boulevard.
Brown said the city has received complaints before, but the recent tragedy has pushed the issue to the fore. He and council members spent more than an hour discussing ways to reduce risk to residents and visitors.
“I like the idea of limited timing after dark,” said District 1 council member Sharon B. Lewis.
An overnight ban on golf carts, moving golf carts away from Seawall Boulevard and restricting passengers under 12 got the most support from council members. Two board members also spoke about the limits on rental companies.
“I wouldn’t be opposed to taking an approach to ban rental golf carts,” said District 6 council member Marie Robb.
District 1 Council Member William Schuster suggested looking at overall traffic safety beyond golf carts.
A Galveston police sergeant also gave his opinion.
“The reason we’re here isn’t because of the golf cart,” Sgt. said R. Sanderson. “It’s because of the actions of another individual.”
RELATED: Rosenberg’s Grandfather, Niece and 2 Grandchildren Killed in Galveston Crash Involving Golf Cart
Brett Von Blon, the co-owner of Carriage Haus Rentals, which rents golf carts, agrees.
“(Quitting drunk driving) should be the main focus of this,” Von Blon said.
Von Blon likes the idea of limiting the working hours of rental companies and adding protections for young drivers — two things he already does with his company.
He does not agree with the closure of rental companies and with a ban on driving at night.
“There are a lot of people here, whether they rent our cart or just city residents, who like to take their cart out to dinner and then come back,” Von Blon said. “As you know, the sun sets at different times of the day.”
Brown told reporters that city staff are also working with police to develop recommendations to address drunk driving.
Council could vote on changes to the golf cart ordinance as early as August 25.