Florida Golf Cart Laws Simplified

July 2023 Update: New Law Changes Legal Driving Age of Golf Carts in Florida

It looks as though teens in the state of Florida will no longer be allowed to operate golf carts without having gotten a permit or a driver’s license first.

On Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 949, a measure that was sponsored by Representative Cyndi Stevenson (R-St. Johns) prohibiting minors from driving on public roads. This law will be effective as of July 1st 2023.

It is essential to be aware of the following.

What changed in the law?

In the past, Florida law allowed a 14-year-old to drive a golf cart, though children younger than 14 still tried to use them, as noted by Sen. Erin Grall, R-Ft. Pierce, the sponsor of the Senate version of the bill. Moreover, the state law made it hard for local governments to come up with laws that would set the driving age higher.

Grall stated that a certain level of competence is necessary in order to be able to drive on public roads.

Who can drive a golf cart in Florida?

For those under 18, the new minimum age requirement is 15 with a learner’s permit or 16 with a driver’s license. For those 18 and above, valid government-issued identification is necessary.

How is “golf cart” defined?

The Florida statute states that a golf cart is “a motor vehicle that is designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and that is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 miles per hour.”

Insurance is not required for golf carts.

If a law is violated, what happens?

Legislation is being proposed that would impose a noncriminal traffic violation, such as a moving offense, on drivers. This bill has the support of state law enforcement, which points to the growing number of golf cart communities across Florida.

Florida Golf Cart Laws: What You Need to Know

Florida is known for its thriving population and urbanization, with over 15 million people living in 30 different metro areas. This makes Florida one of the most urbanized states in the country, second only to New York and California. Florida’s great weather and lack of state taxes attract many new residents each year.

Living in a densely populated area comes with its challenges, particularly when it comes to transportation. Cars can be expensive to maintain, fuel, and insure, and they contribute to traffic congestion, pollution, and slower commute times. As a result, many Florida residents have sought alternative modes of transportation, such as bicycles, public transportation, ride-sharing apps, and the ever-present golf carts.

Not surprisingly, golf carts have become a popular means of transportation in Florida, especially in the suburban areas surrounding major cities like Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, and Tampa. 

The prevalence of golf carts can be attributed to various factors:

  • Florida is renowned for its golfing culture, with the PGA Hall of Fame located in the state and numerous professional tournaments taking place each year. Bay Hill, Islesworth, Windermere, and surrounding neighborhoods in Orlando are full of the first, second, or multiple homes of famous golfers from around the world.

  • Florida has a significant retiree population, and older residents in retirement communities often prefer using golf carts to get around instead of cars. In fact, many areas and communities, such as The Villages, have dedicated golf cart paths.

“Golf Carts” Must Have a Top Speed of Up to 20mph

If you are considering purchasing a golf cart in Florida, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the laws that govern their use on public roads. 

  1. In Florida, a golf cart is defined as a vehicle with a top speed of less than 20 mph. Regular golf carts can be driven by anyone over the age of 15 on public roads with speed limits under 25 mph.

  2. Once a golf cart exceeds 20 mph, it becomes a low-speed vehicle (LSV) and falls under a different set of rules. LSVs require a regular operator license, registration, and insurance, similar to a regular vehicle.

Generally, golf carts can only be operated in residential neighborhoods, unless specific roads are designated for golf cart use. The designation of “golf cart roads” can vary from county to county, so it’s advisable to check with local authorities for specific regulations in your area. Some exceptions exist, such as crossing a state highway to access subdivisions, mobile home parks, or golf courses.

Golf Carts Can’t Be Driven At Night; Low-Speed Vehicles May Have Other Rules

Regarding operating golf carts at night, the general rule in Florida is that they can only be operated between sunrise and sunset. However, different local governments may have specific laws that allow nighttime operation with the presence of headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and reflective warning devices. County requirements may include headlights, brake lights, windshields, and, in some cases, electric turn signals. It’s important to adhere to these regulations and ensure your golf cart meets the specified requirements to avoid any legal issues.

Guidelines for LSVs (Low Speed Vehicles)

  • Reaches speeds of 20 to 25mph
  • Has a vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Headlamps
  • Front and rear turn signals
  • Taillamps
  • Stop lamps
  • Reflex reflectors, red – one on each side and one on the rear
  • Exterior mirror on the driver side and an interior or exterior mirror on passenger side
  • Parking brake
  • Windshield
  • Seatbelt for each designated seat
  • Not be operated on any roadway with a speed limit above 35 mph

Any person operating a low-speed vehicle (LSV) must have in their possession a valid driver license. An LSV must also be registered and insured with Personal Injury Protection and Property Damage Liability.

It is  highly recommended to also cover it with bodily injury, uninsured motorist, and medical payment coverage.

What You Need to Bring to the DMV to Register Your LSV

  • The Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin
  • Form HSMSV 82040 (Application for Title)
  • Proof of Florida insurance, minimum $10,000 Property Damage and $10,000 Personal Injury Protection
  • Identification: driver license or identification card or passport
  • Applicable fees: (a) Title fee – $75.25 to $85.25 (b) Plate fee – $28 or plate to transfer (c) Initial Registration Fee – $225 (if applicable) (d) Registration fee varies by weight of vehicle

 

Can Golf Carts Be Modified to Go Faster?

Modifying golf carts to increase their speed is possible to some extent, but it is generally discouraged. Once a golf cart exceeds 20 mph and becomes an LSV, it requires a license, registration, and insurance. Modifying a golf cart beyond the manufacturer’s standards can be unlawful, unsafe, and may result in insurance coverage issues. It’s important to consider the safety risks and legal implications before making any modifications.

Conclusion: Know and Follow Florida Traffic Law

It’s crucial to remember that driving a golf cart in Florida is subject to traffic regulations and violations can result in tickets. Local and state authorities can issue tickets for speeding, driving on illegal roads, and even driving under the influence (DUI). It’s essential to drive responsibly and follow all applicable rules and regulations to avoid legal trouble.

While driving a golf cart or LSV can be a safe and enjoyable experience in Florida, it’s important to remain cautious on the roads, as accidents can still occur due to the negligence of other drivers.

Visit Ultimate Carts to Test Drive Your Golf Cart (or Street-Ready Golf Cart)

With a wide selection of golf carts and customization options, Ultimate Carts has something for everyone. Our knowledgeable staff can help you choose the perfect vehicle to fit your needs and budget. Start cruising in style at one of our Central Florida locations:

Orlando
845 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
407-745-4001

New Smyrna Beach
1701 FL-44, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
(386) 202-9404

About Ultimate Carts

Ultimate Carts is the EV golf carts arm of the Ultimate family of luxury vehicle dealerships in greater Central Florida and its coasts. The business group includes Ultimate Auto and Ultimate Marine, offering a highly personal service model that includes in-house custom manufacturing capabilities and a white-glove delivery experience. All are overseen by CEO Joe Labon, who started the first Ultimate Auto shop more than 30 years ago in Orlando. 

Service areas for Ultimate Carts include Orlando, Winter Park, Tampa, New Smyrna Beach, and The Villages. Ultimate Marine serves Sarasota to Clearwater on the West Coast, and Cape Canaveral to Jacksonville on the East Coast. Ultimate Auto is headquartered in Orlando.