Some days it seems like there are as many golf carts on the streets of Port Aransas as there are other vehicles, and the traffic quotes seem to confirm that.
In June, police issued 319 citations for traffic offenses other than parking, and 157 or 49.2% were issued against golf cart drivers or passengers. From May 15 to July 31, the traffic tickets involved 388 golf carts.
Police Chief Scott Burroughs said the most common citations for golf carts are driving on State Highway 361 (golf carts are illegal on any road with a speed limit over 35 mph ), driving on a sidewalk, unlicensed drivers, open containers of alcohol, and child seat belt violations.
Golf carts look cute and fun, but they can be just as dangerous as larger vehicles. “I often say that people come on vacation and they pack everything but common sense,” Burroughs said. “I don’t think people realize how hard this sand is. EMS transports a handful of people every year who have fallen out of golf carts or truck beds and seriously injured their heads, necks or backs.
Burroughs said he personally doesn’t believe children under the age of six should be allowed on a cart, even though it’s legal.
There are significant risks in driving a small vehicle in the open on roads with larger vehicles. Four out of six golf cart passengers died in Galveston on Saturday, August 7, when the driver of an SUV suspected of driving under the influence opened a stop sign, pushing a truck into the golf cart. golf. Two adults and two children have died, and one adult and one child remain in critical condition. Two families were riding in the golf cart.
Burroughs said people often don’t think about the potential long-term consequences of a bad decision. About six years ago, a visitor from Port Aransas allowed her 11-year-old daughter to drive her around town in a golf cart. The girl turned a corner too sharply and her mother fell off the cart, hitting the street. The mother suffered a head trauma.
“As tragic as that is, the real tragedy is that the poor girl will spend the rest of her life with the guilt of her mother being permanently disabled,” he said.
Burroughs said the police department was short by five officers of its 25 authorized members, but each officer was still spending 10% of their shift work on the highway, targeting speeding violations, overtaking violations and illegal operations. golf carts.
Burroughs said strong community support is one of the department’s best recruiting tools, and recent criticism on Facebook has appalled those supporters. A message suggested that the police were not watching errant golf cart drivers.
“There is no need for a handful of disgruntled and misinformed individuals to take to social media and falsely accuse our department of not caring about this community, of being indifferent to public safety, of not not enforce laws or have a double standard between locals and tourists,” he said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.
Burroughs said the job of a police officer is tough. “Our community expects officers to patrol neighborhoods, school zones, business districts, parks, marinas, beaches, highways, side streets and direct ferry traffic,” a he declared. “We search for missing children on the beach, help stranded motorists, treat drunks, shipwrecks, drug addicts and people in mental health crisis. When 911 rings, our officers respond.
Contact David Webb at [email protected]