New Law in Florida Requires Minors to Have Learner’s Permit to Drive Golf Carts
WELLINGTON, Fla. — Elizabeth Zapata, a resident of Wellington, frequently witnesses young children operating golf carts without proper knowledge of traffic rules and safety measures. “They don’t know how to stop,” she expressed concern, “They just don’t know how to respect the stop signs. They keep on going.” In response to such incidents, a new law will be implemented in Florida starting October, which mandates minors to obtain at least a learner’s permit before driving a golf cart.
The introduction of this law has been applauded by local residents, including Santiago Castano, a student from Wellington. Although Castano is far from being eligible to drive, he believes that the new law is a step in the right direction. “I see all these crosswalks and the signs of walking, and whenever I walk by, I see all these guys just going around on the golf cart,” he observed, “They don’t even stop at the red light.” Castano’s viewpoint reflects the concerns raised by many regarding the lack of awareness and responsibility displayed by young golf cart drivers.
To further emphasize the importance of this law, Wellington Vice Mayor Michael Napoleone highlighted the need for proper training before operating a golf cart. He commended the state’s decision to consider age alone as an insufficient criterion for driving these vehicles. Napoleone stated, “I think it was smart of the state to realize that just the age alone does not qualify you to drive a golf cart because you’re driving a vehicle on the road, and you should have some sort of minimal training level before you’re allowed to do that.”
In addition to the state law, Wellington has also implemented its own ordinance to enhance safety regulations for golf cart usage. By doing so, village leaders aim to mitigate the risks associated with golf cart transportation, particularly during peak school traffic hours. The alignment between state and local regulations is seen as a positive development by Napoleone, who believes that it is crucial for individuals to understand and fulfill their responsibilities in ensuring public safety.
Noncompliance with the new state law will result in a noncriminal traffic infraction, which carries a penalty of up to $108. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has expressed its commitment to prioritize public education on the matter, emphasizing the importance of collective efforts in promoting compliance. Napoleone reiterated the significance of parental responsibility in this process, stating, “A lot of it still comes down to parental responsibility…until they’re mature enough and have a license to drive one.”
As Florida prepares to enforce this new law, it is expected to bring about a heightened level of safety and awareness among young golf cart drivers. The combination of proper training, age requirements, and increased awareness is envisioned to reduce the risks associated with golf cart usage, ensuring the well-being of both the drivers and the general public.