Wilmington area safety officials are reminding residents that under North Carolina driving laws, “rules of the road” apply to golf carts just like any other motor vehicle.
With the Wilmington area being a large golfing community and as people enter the summer season where golf carts come and go from the pool, beach, golf courses and more, officials note that this rule “standard” should stay on the back. of your mind.
Bald Head Island Public Safety Chief Alan May said the “standard rule” is that a golf cart is considered a motor vehicle and the island’s ultimate goal is ” security”.
“The same rules of the road i.e. speed limits, signals, stop signs etc. must be followed and people should bear this in mind when using carts,” May said via email. “We are maintaining posts on social media and on the village website to remind people that it is illegal to have an open container ANYWHERE in a golf cart. Additionally, officers are actively enforcing containers open and other security breaches.”
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May said it’s easy to get thrown out of a golf cart if you’re not careful and the driver goes over the speed limit.
“We are enforcing speed limits, stop signs, open containers, etc. and with more enforcement than usual with increased bike patrols,” May said. “We want people to keep safety in mind and make the island safe for the people who live here as well as for visitors.”
On Bald Head Island, these rules of conduct are taken seriously, May said.
“Verbal warnings sometimes aren’t enough, so we hand out civil citations,” May said. “We don’t get anything out of it, there’s nothing to pay. We just want to make sure people play by the rules on the island, and citations are given as a last resort and strictly for educational purposes.”
The recall comes after a 41-year-old Wake County woman rode home on a golf cart after a party at her neighborhood clubhouse over the weekend and was killed when the golf cart swerved run over, according to Holly Springs Police Chief Paul Liquorie.
Liquorie said the woman’s husband is charged with drunk driving in connection with the incident.
“The incident in Wake County is a tragedy,” said Carolina Beach Police Department Detective Sgt. Scott Hettinger.
Police would like to remind the public that a golf cart must be driven by someone who is at least 16 years old and has a valid driver’s license, Hettinger said. The law requires proper restraints for each individual occupant, the golf cart cannot operate on a road faster than 35 miles per hour and must maintain liability insurance, he said.
“The Carolina Beach Police Department would also like to remind anyone using a golf cart to remain situationally aware at all times and to yield to passing vehicles,” Hettinger continued. “As you know, golf carts do not offer the same crash protections as most motor vehicles. The operator of a golf cart is responsible for the operation of the vehicle and the safety of passengers. “
Driving while impaired on a golf cart “is just as illegal” as driving a car while impaired, Assistant New Hanover District Attorney Samantha Dooies said.
Beau Rivage, one of Wilmington’s golf communities, also emphasizes safety as “paramount,” according to homeowners association board chair Tracey Florence.
“The neighbors of Beau Rivage have always been respectful of the rules of the road and we expect that to continue,” said Florence. “We accept golf carts, however, only people with a driver’s license should drive golf carts on our streets, we slow down and move to the side when approaching vehicles, and turn on cart lights golf at dawn, dusk or in the dark.”
Lauren Haviland, communications officer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, said everyone should buckle up while driving a golf cart and never drive a vehicle under the influence.
“Golf carts are considered motor vehicles when on the road, so the same laws apply to them as other vehicles,” Haviland said. “Golf carts can only be on certain low-speed roads. Also, since drivers and passengers do not have the safety protection of a vehicle, extra precautions should be taken.”
According to Haviland, the governor’s traffic safety program will launch its Booze It & Lose It campaign from June 28 to July 4.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, state law enforcement is increasing the number of patrols and officers in certain areas, setting up checkpoints and using local media to contact drivers during each campaign.
The campaign recalls that “motorists caught driving while impaired could face jail time, lose their driving privileges and pay an average of $10,000 in fines, towing charges and other expenses associated with a CFA. It’s not a small price, and it doesn’t even count. the highest price: the potential cost of a lost life.”
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, even with the success of Booze It & Lose It, more than 9,000 people have died in alcohol-related crashes in North Carolina since the program was introduced in 1994.
Reporter Krys Merryman can be reached at 910-343-2272 or [email protected]