One man was killed early Saturday, April 20, 2013 after a golf cart accident in Jeffersonville, Indiana. According to Clark County Police, Chad Anderson, 32, was thrown from the golf cart his friend, Matthew Myers, was operating. Anderson was ejected from the golf cart when Myers took a sharp turn on the 200 block of Spring Street. Anderson had injuries to his body and his head. He was taken to University Hospital in Louisville where he died from internal bleeding after sustaining broken ribs and punctured liver. Myers was preliminarily charged with an OWI (Operating While Under the Influence) resulting in death. Police said they found a cup with beer in the golf cart. It was found out from a portable breath test that Myer’s blood alcohol was more than twice the legal limit.
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- About 15,000 golf cart-related accidents require emergency room visits each year in the United States. Forty percent of the injuries involve a person falling from a moving golf car and happen to children younger than 16. Approximately half of the accidents happen on golf courses while the remaining half take place on streets or other public properties.
- Injuries from being hit by or falling off golf carts increased by 132% from 1990 to 2006. During this time, about 150,000 people, aged two months to 96-years-old, were hurt in golf cart accidents.
- Passenger ejection is the dominant mode of injury in golf cart. Numerous reports of brain injury and death follow it.
In Kentucky, a person may operate a golf cart on a public roadway. KRS 189.286 allows you to do so if: the posted speed limit of the designated public roadway is 35 miles per hour or less, the operator of the golf cart does not cross a roadway at an intersection where the roadway being crossed has a posted speed limit of more than 35 miles per hour, the operator has a valid operator’s license in his or her possession, the golf cart is being operated between sunrise and sunset and the golf cart displays a slow-moving vehicle emblem. Despite this government regulation, more and more Kentuckians are being injured by golf carts. Common injuries associated with golf cart accidents include: head injuries, soft tissue injuries, whiplash, knee and shoulder injuries, back and neck injuries and more. These are often caused by lack of safety features or alcohol.
The dangers of golf carts
Golf carts can be dangerous, considering its design and lack of safety mechanisms. Golf carts are usually not equipped with seat belts or airbags. As a result, the chances of sustaining a serious injury increase. Though there are some golf carts which provide readily accessible handholds, these do not prevent passengers from being ejected from the cart. Another factor that plays a part in golf cart accidents is alcohol. This proves that drinking and driving do not mix. An impaired vehicle operator does not have the ability to make good responses and judgments.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I know riding in a golf cart can be fun. It’s also increasing in popularity – from golf courses to public roads. With the increased usage, I advise golf cart operators to observe safe and proper operating procedures. You need to slow down (especially on public roads), be aware of your surroundings, wear the proper personal protective equipment and do not drink and drive. In Kentucky, a golf cart operating on a public roadway shall be insured by the owner or the operator. If you are ever in a golf cart accident, your insurance may provide coverage for your injuries and damages. However, you should call your insurance company to see what your insurance covers.