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With many people eager to take advantage of nice weather by spending time outside, it seems like a good time to remind people to drive carefully when they’re behind the wheel of a golf cart.
Some people, especially those who aren’t golfers, think of golf carts as harmless little vehicles. The truth is that many golf cart accidents are just as devastating as those involving passenger cars. In many ways, golf carts are less safe, and drivers and passengers need to be aware of the risks when they climb aboard.
A study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that nearly 150,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for golf-cart related injuries in the United States during the 16-year study period. These injuries took place at sports facilities, on public property like streets, and on private property like farms.
If you haven’t seen a golf cart recently, you might not realize how substantial they can be. There are models that seat eight passengers, weigh up to 1,500 pounds, and are rated to carry that same amount, giving a fully-loaded golf cart the same weight as a small passenger car.
Some golf carts reach speeds of 19 miles per hour, more than fast enough to cause serious injury in an impact or when an occupant is thrown from the cart—the most common reason for an injury, accounting for nearly 40% of the 15,000 or more serious golf cart crash injuries believed to occur each year. Tip-overs and rollovers are also common, and surprisingly, children are the victims in at least one-third of golf cart crashes.
How safe or unsafe are golf carts? The specifics vary from one manufacturer to another, but in general, they’re not designed with occupant safety as the top priority.
In 2016, Europe’s passenger car safety program tested some golf carts in the same kind of simulated crashes passenger cars experience with results that should scare all drivers: They found the vehicles to have essentially no side protection, and front impacts were extremely dangerous because of the way the steering column was driven into the crash dummy’s chest and head (a problem that was addressed in passenger cars years ago with collapsible steering columns).
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a car accident, you are urged to contact the attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. An Indianapolis car accident lawyer from WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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