Whether you are interested in purchasing a golf cart to drive around your neighborhood, using on at your local golf course, or renting one on your annual beach vacation, you are probably wondering what requirements one needs to possess in order to drive the vehicle. More specifically you are probably interested in understanding what age requirements one needs to meet in order to legally drive a golf cart. In other words, can your children legally operate the golf cart without your supervision?
How old do you have to be do drive a golf cart?
Most states require operators to be at least 14 years old in order to legally operate a golf cart on public property. Other states require you to be 16 years old and some even require a valid driver’s license. Insurance may also be required in some states for operation on public property.
However, the longer answer will require you to take a look at the specific requirements and legislation associated with the state of operation, for the rules associated with golf cart operation in the United States vary from state to state. Below is a table that outlines the age requirements each state requires its citizens to meet in order to legally operate a golf cart.
Golf Cart Operation Requirements State to State (USA)
Overall, the minimum age requirement to legally operate a golf cart varies from state to state. Some states, like California, Colorado, and Montana only require individuals to be at least 14 years of age. However, a majority of the other states require golf cart operators to possess a valid state driver’s license. Take a look below at the age requirement for your particular state:
|Alabama||18 or Drivers License|
|Arizona||Drivers License & Liability Insurance|
|Georgia||13 with a Licensed Adult. DL otherwise|
|Kansas||14 with Driver’s License or Permit|
Within that table you will notice that certain state’s, such as Arizona, also require operators to carry liability insurance with them when operating their golf cart. This is just one of the additional state laws that restrict the operation of golf carts in public areas. It is imperative that you do additional research regarding your state’s specific golf cart laws before you begin to operate your golf cart around town.
|Maryland||12 w/ Adult, Driver’s License Otherwise|
|New Hampshire||14 w/ Adult, Driver’s License Otherwise|
|New Jersey||18 or Driver’s License|
|New Mexico||15, Legal only on Golf Courses|
|North Carolina||Driver’s License|
Certain states, such as New Hampshire and Maryland, will allow operators of a certain age without a driver’s license to operate a golf cart in the presence of an adult. However, if the operator is operating the golf cart alone they will need to possess their own valid driver’s license.
|Rhode Island||Driver’s License|
|South Carolina||Driver’s License|
|South Dakota||Driver’s License|
|West Virginia||Driver’s License|
Is it Legal to Operate a Golf Cart in Your Neighborhood?
Even if you meet the minimum state age requirements for golf cart operation, you will still want to inquire if golf cart operation is legal in your neighborhood. In many states, golf cart operation is legal in neighborhoods that maintain lower speed limits and possess less vehicle traffic. The perfect example of this is a beachside town or a neighborhood located within a country club. However, no matter where your neighborhood is located it is important to understand what certifies the legal public operation of a golf cart in your state.
Normally, golf carts being operated on public property are required to be street legal and meet the low-speed requirements of the state in which they are being operated. The definition of street legal varies somewhat from state to state, but generally it is defined as:
Characteristics of a Street Legal Golf Cart
A golf cart is normally required to possess a functioning example of the following equipment in order to be deemed street legal. In some states, golf carts are also required to possess their own vehicle identification numbers and state vehicle registrations.
- Brake Lights
- Rear and Side Reflectors
- Turn Signals
- Exterior Mirrors
- Seat Belts
Your golf cart will also need to meet your state’s low-speed requirements to be legally operated in public. In general, a state’s low-speed requirements normally mandate that a golf cart only be able to accelerate to a maximum speed of 20-25 miles per hour.
Enjoy Putting Around Town in Your Cart!
Driving a golf cart can be a fun and a rather inexpensive way to commute around town. Operating a golf cart is also a great way for younger drivers to practice their skills before moving on to larger and more dangerous vehicles such as cars and trucks. However, it is also always important that you check with your state’s local golf cart operation laws before operation to ensure that you and your children are legally allowed to operate your golf cart in certain areas.
As you have seen, these operating laws and procedures vary greatly from state to state and at times can be either fairly lenient or quite strict. In addition to the operating laws of your state, you should also be familiar with and follow all standard road navigation laws when operating your golf cart on public roads, parkways, or beaches. With all this being said, be safe and enjoy your time operating your golf cart!