New Florida Law Increases Golf Cart Driving Age to 16

With a focus on safety and community well-being, the Sunshine State has taken a crucial step to ensure safer roadways and preserve the joy of golf cart transportation for all ages. The law, House Bill 949, was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis on May 12, 2023, and went into effect on July 1, 2023. The law was written in response to concerns about the safety of young drivers.

Under the previous law, anyone 14 years or older could drive a golf cart on designated roadways in Florida. The new law raises the age to 16 for all drivers, and they will now need either a learner’s permit or valid driver’s license to comply.  

Why was the law Passed?

The law was passed in response to concerns about the safety of young drivers. Safety remains the top priority in any community, and the decision to increase the driving age for golf carts was primarily fueled by concerns surrounding road accidents. Golf carts are an increasingly popular mode of transportation in many Florida neighborhoods and commercial areas. Unfortunately, incidents of accidents involving golf carts, especially those driven by underage drivers, have been on the rise, leading to injuries and, in some cases, fatalities. By raising the minimum driving age, the state legislature seeks to mitigate these risks and ensure that only individuals with a more mature sense of responsibility can legally operate golf carts.

The new law also aligns Florida’s golf cart regulations with those governing other vehicles, such as cars and motorcycles. This consistency in age requirements promotes a clearer understanding of traffic rules and safety standards among all drivers, thereby reducing confusion and potential conflicts on the roads.

Another reason for the new law’s introduction is that the previous law allowed underage drivers to operate golf carts without adult supervision. That raised issues related to liability and insurance coverage. In cases that resulted in accidents, determining responsibility and compensation was often complex. The new legislation clarifies these matters, ensuring that the driver, legally allowed to operate the golf cart, holds full responsibility, making it easier for insurance providers to assess claims accurately.

What does the law do?

The law increases the driving age for golf carts from 14 to 16. This means that anyone under the age of 16, or without a valid license or learner’s permit, will no longer be able to drive a golf cart on public roads. The law also requires golf carts to be equipped with headlights, taillights, and brake lights. It also makes it so that golf carts must be registered with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. In addition, Golf carts must be operated only on designated roadways and must not be operated on highways with a speed limit of more than 35 miles per hour.

When will the law go into effect?

The law went into effect on July 1, 2023.

What are the penalties for violating the law?

The penalties for violating the law include a fine of up to $100.

What can I do if I have questions about the law?

If you have questions about the law, you can contact our law firm the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

The new law in Florida is a step in the right direction to make golf cart driving safer for everyone. If you are under the age of 16 and want to drive a golf cart on a public roadway, you will need to wait until you are 16 and have a valid driver’s license. In the meantime, you can enjoy riding in a golf cart with a responsible adult.

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