The use of golf carts in Houston is a serious problem as a greater number of accidents are reflected in the city.
In the event of an accident, golf cart drivers have a significantly higher risk of life-threatening injuries or fatal injuries than drivers and passengers of cars, trucks, and SUVs. These drivers are in a very vulnerable position when an accident occurs because golf carts are not provided with safety devices such as side and front airbags, seat belts, windshields, and most importantly a steel frame. Because of this, golf cart drivers are more susceptible to serious brain injuries and comas. In Texas, protective helmets are only required for drivers and passengers under the age of 21.
According to the National Road Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal golf cart accidents have tripled from 2009 to 2019, and the average age of drivers who died in accidents decreased from 38 years in 2009 to 32 years in 2019.
After an accident, golf cart drivers can suffer catastrophic injuries, including severe head trauma, spinal cord injuries, painful burns, broken or fractured bones, crushed organs, internal bleeding, and nerve damage. These injuries can be permanent in nature and have a significant impact on the quality of life of the injured driver and his family. Considering that the average age for most fatal golf cart accidents is 32, many of the riders have families and permanent damage or death can have a significant impact on the remaining family members. Even if the driver survives, future medical expenses, loss of work capacity, and other factors significantly affect the driver’s ability to support his family financially and can become a financial burden with the amount of medical care needed because of the injuries.
The Golf Cart
It’s more than a golf cart but less than a car. The golf cart can be described as a four-seat recreational vehicle or as an “adult kart,” in which one can travel with passengers on some approved roads and routes at normal speeds.
Some golf carts are designed for transportation during a golf match or practice, however, there has been a huge increase in people driving them for fun or recreation. Their prices range between 3,000 and 20,000 dollars. Due to its hybrid and novel nature, state governments have problems regulating it, as well as its drivers.
Some manufacturers have lobbied state governments for years to legalize these vehicles and separate them from other vehicles so that users can acquire them without having to know how to drive a regular car.
Many states have given their approval, but others have not. Some require that they are equipped with safety belts, airbags, and bumpers. Others require that the driver always wear a helmet, although this depends on the age of the driver and whether they have a closed cabin or not.
Security of Golf Carts In Texas
Texas laws require all golf carts, motor scooters, and moped operators, and their passengers, to wear helmets meeting the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard #218 (FMVSS #218). But there is one exception. Individuals at least 21 years old are exempt from wearing a helmet while operating or riding these types of vehicles if they have completed a department-approved Golf Cart Operator Training Course or they can provide proof of at least $10,000 in medical insurance coverage.
“Houston’s Police Chief Troy Finner said that the use of these vehicles is making the laws to be more rigid to prevent these types of accidents, resulting in an increase in the number of fines for irresponsible driving behind the wheel.”
“We’ve stopped a lot of golf carts and writing tickets or educating people about which lanes they need to be in,” Chief Finner said.
He pointed out that unfortunately those who have misused the carts stand up while the unit is in motion, do not use the seat belt, or travel with excess weight by not respecting the passenger number required.
The police chief said they have been working with golf cart rental companies to educate them that if a golf cart is pulled over for violations of the traffic code, the police will call the company to intervene.
“We automatically call the golf cart company and have them come pick it up, then those people lose their deposit,” Chief Finner said.
Those who rent these units not only drive irresponsibly, but they also keep the music loud, move too fast, or go too slowly, so they should pay more attention to prevent accidents.
Injured In a Golf Cart Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a golf cart accident in Texas, the law is on your side. If you can prove that the other driver’s negligent actions led to your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of wages, lost wages in the future, medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses and the general quality of life diminished.
Our attorneys have successfully handled golf cart cases and have experience in dealing with the damages most drivers sustain in these types of accidents. We commit to exhausting all possible avenues to try and prove that the other party is at fault and to help you and your family get the compensation you deserve.
Contact PMR Law Today
At PMR Law, our attorneys have experience handling cases involving injuries caused by golf carts in Houston and the surrounding region. We can help you regardless of the type or severity of the injury. Reach out online or by phone to speak with a Houston car accident attorney.
Contact our car accident injury lawyers at 832-844-6428 Get in touch with us immediately so we can evaluate your case for free. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also fill out a form by clicking here.
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