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    April 2012

    Injuries From Golf Carts on Campus

    Golf carts are commonly used on campuses as utility vehicles and to assist individuals with limited mobility. Although they are often considered safe because they are small and slow, golf carts can be dangerous. In 2008, the Center for Injury Research and Policy reported that injuries from golf carts increased 132 percent over a 17-year period. UE members have had numerous claims in which individuals hit by or thrown from golf carts sustained serious injuries, such as broken bones and concussions. UE recommends the following best practices to limit the potential for injuries:

    Establish Driver Qualifications

    • Allow only authorized employees, contractors, or students to use carts
    • Require that all drivers have a valid driver’s license
    • Consider conducting a motor vehicle records check on each driver

    Develop Operating Rules

    • Prohibit personal use of carts except when provided as an accommodation to a person with limited mobility
    • List sections of campus where carts are allowed and state whether carts are permitted on city roads
    • Mandate that pedestrians have the right of way on sidewalks
    • Establish speed limits and prohibit employees from modifying carts for increased speed
    • Regulate usage at night and during thunderstorms
    • Require removal of keys from unattended carts to prevent unauthorized use

    Provide Driver Training

    Some institutions use training videos followed by a written test, but there are other effective methods. Training should cover:

    • The effects of weather conditions, terrain, and weight distribution on safe operation
    • Safe driving methods, such as braking slowly and using caution when making U-turns or backing
    • The use of safety belts when available and importance of keeping hands and feet in the cart
    • Accident reporting guidelines, which may be similar to those for other campus vehicles

    Institutions should conduct routine inspections of golf carts and consider creating a safety checklist for each use. In addition, they should research state regulations on golf cart usage and incorporate any legal requirements into their operating rules and training programs.


    Resources

    College-Owned Vehicles: Claims Lessons for Reducing Driver Error
    University of South Florida Cart Safety Training Program
    Trinity University Golf Cart Safety Policy


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