In 2008, a group of researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)investigated how often golf carts were involved in causing trips to the emergency room. Their findings were remarkable. First, they concluded that approximately 1,000 golf cart accidents occur in the United States every single month – that means over 30 per day. Second, and even more surprisingly, they determined that roughly half of the injuries occur off the golf course. In recent years, golf carts have grown in popularity as low-risk, low-speed forms of general transportation; however, this study suggests that they might be more dangerous than they seem.

I must say that these numbers seem a bit high to me. I've had several golf cart injury cases in Iowa and can appreciate the dangers, but still 1,000 accidents a month does seem high. Nevertheless, please read on.

When driving a golf cart, one must be vigilant of two unique risks.

First, passenger ejections. These types of injuries account for approximately 35% of golf cart accidents, and in almost every case it is the passenger who has fallen out of the vehicle. Oftentimes, the passenger will be ejected when the driver makes a sudden turn. Drivers do not need to be particularly concerned about these expulsions; their grip on the steering wheel will counteract the centrifugal forces. Passengers, on the other hand, must be careful. Golf carts have no doors, and oftentimes provide few handholds but the ones most do provided (especially ones at hip level, where most of them are) are positioned in such a way that they actually assist the ejection forces. To avoid these injuries, simply drive slower when going around turns and warn your passengers about upcoming maneuvers. Hey, I'm going to do a wheelie, hold on!

Second, rollovers. Rollovers account for only 10% of golf cart injuries, but they are often the most devastating. In many ways, the root of these accidents lies in poor manufacturing. Most golf carts are produced with rear-braking wheels, a set-up that, when the cart is rolling downhill, encourages fishtailing and, in extreme situations, rollovers. Just like ejections, rollovers are easy to avoid. Take downhill slopes slowly, and if the cart begins to fishtail, do not brake harder.

Golf carts are convenient and simple, and, with an ounce of precaution, are safe as well.

Related Posts:

Learn From A Tragic Golf Cart Wreck - In this post Brooks Schuelke of Perlmutter & Schuelke discusses a recent golf cart death that involved Hays High School students. "Over the weekend, Alyssa Bargsley, a student at Hays High School (my alma mater), was killed in a tragic golf cart wreck.  Apparently, Ms. Bargsley was standing on the back of the golf cart while the driver, another Hays High School student, was driving.  The driver hit a bump, tossing Ms. Bargsley off the cart and causing her to hit her head on the pavement."


Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
I am working on a case involving a golf cart accident. What is the URL for that UAB report that you mentioned in this blog post? This would help me greatly. Thank you for your time.
by Kate Federman July 9, 2010 at 12:01 PM
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