Driving a golf cart can be intriguing to people of all ages. However, despite how easy it is to drive such a vehicle, there’s still an age restriction.
How old do you have to be to drive a golf cart? Although most states set the age requirement to 14, it depends on a variety of parameters. The age requirement differs according to your location and whether you do it on a public road or within a private community.
Read on for more about the requirements in every state.
Requirements to Drive a Golf Cart in Different State
Usually, 14 is the minimum age required to drive a golf cart in public. However, some states set different age limits and extra legal requirements.
Different Age Requirements
Some states set different age requirements for driving golf carts. For instance, these states set their minimum age to less than 14:
- Pennsylvania: 12
- California: 13
- Kansas: 13
- Rhode Island: 13
- Vermont 13
On the other hand, the following states raise the age limit above 14:
- New Mexico: 15
- North Dakota 16
- Oklahoma 16
- Tennessee: 16
- Texas: 16
- West Virginia: 16
- Wisconsin: 16
- Illinois: 18
- Iowa: 18
States With Extra Legal Requirements
Some states abide by the average age limit. However, they require extra documentation such as a driver’s license or liability insurance. These states include:
- South Dakota
States With Special Requirements
Some states opt for special requirements to allow people to drive golf carts on public roads. For instance, some states allow children under 14 to drive a golf cart with special requirements.
At 12 in Georgia and Maryland and 13 in New Hampshire, you can drive a golf cart with an adult companion who has a driver’s license.
On the other hand, some states set an age requirement of more than 14 but also require special documentation.
In Mississippi, if you have a driver’s license, you can drive a golf cart alone at the age of 15. If not, you need an accompanying parent or guardian.
In Alaska, you need to be 16 and have a driver’s license. However, you can also drive a golf cart with an adult companion if you have a learner’s permit.
In addition, in Kentucky, Minnesota, and South Carolina, the minimum age to drive a golf cart is 16. However, you also need to have a driver’s license, insurance, and a legal permit from the local government.
In the following states, you must be 16 and have a driver’s license to drive a golf cart in public:
- North Carolina
Moreover, in Alabama, New Jersey, and Utah, you must be 18 with a driver’s license to drive a golf cart in public.
Interestingly, some states such as Hawaii prohibit driving a golf cart in public. There, you have to be 16 or above to drive a golf cart on a golf course or private property.
Do You Have to Have a Driver’s License to Drive a Golf Cart?
Generally speaking, you don’t need a driver’s license to drive a golf cart in most states, unless you plan to drive the vehicle on a public road.
In the states that allow you to take your golf cart on main roads or highways, you mostly need a driver’s license. Moreover, some states require special permits and insurance to be able to drive on their public roads or highways.
How to Adjust the Golf Cart to Be Driven on Public Roads?
Since most states allow children of 14 to drive golf carts, those children need to follow certain driving rules. For instance, they need to have permission from the owners of the golf carts to drive their vehicles.
Moreover, the speed limit on most golf carts ranges between 15 and 25 miles/hour. Therefore, it’s recommended to add a “Slow Moving Vehicle” sign in order to alert other drivers on the road. Some states don’t even allow golf carts on streets with speed limits above 35 miles/hour.
What Laws Regulate Driving a Golf Cart on Public Roads?
Most states require you to register the vehicle before taking it out on a public road. Other states even require a special permit from the local government.
It’s also important to note that all traffic laws apply to driving a golf cart in public. This includes pedestrian crossing laws, traffic lights, and speed limits.
Some states allow the use of golf carts on public roads only during the day. This means that golf carts aren’t allowed to operate on public roads after sunset.
Most US states require that you equip your golf cart with certain elements to operate it on public roads. These elements include:
- A horn
- Strong brakes
- A rear-view mirror
- A bike safety flag
- A slow-moving vehicle label
Since many states consider golf carts as motor vehicles, you can get arrested for DUI if you drive a golf cart under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This includes driving golf carts on golf courses and resorts.
What Laws Regulate Driving a Golf Cart on Private Property?
Most states don’t set any age limit for driving a golf cart on private property. The landowner is responsible for the property and the vehicles on it.
This is why most children learn how to drive golf carts on their private properties. However, children under the age of driving a golf cart in public can’t drive on golf courses. Even if privately owned, a golf course is considered a public area in the US.
How to Ensure a Child’s Safety While Driving a Golf Cart on Private Property?
Parents who allow their children to drive on their private property should also ensure their safety. For instance, they should invest in some safety measures that can prevent serious accidents and injuries such as top-quality brakes, side mirrors, and seat belts.
Children should also be taught some simple safety rules to avoid getting into trouble. Such rules include:
- Yielding to pedestrians
- Checking blind spots
- Never using phone while driving even if the place isn’t crowded
- Avoiding reckless driving or racing
- Not overcrowding the golf cart with passengers
How old do you have to be to drive a golf cart? Every state sets its own regulations in this respect. Therefore, you need to check your state’s age limit.
Driving a golf cart on public roads may have special requirements in certain states. For instance, some states require a driver’s license, liability insurance, or special permission. In addition, a driver must abide by all traffic rules.
On the other hand, there’s no age restriction to drive a golf cart on private property. However, you should teach your children safety precautions before they drive.