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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Is a Golf Cart Street Legal in Texas? | Legal Questions Answered

It's not uncommon to see special vehicles, such as Sand Rails, Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV), Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs), and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) on the roads of Texas. However, many residents wonder whether golf carts can be used outside the golf course.


This article will provide clarity on the matter and answer the question, "Is a golf cart street legal in Texas?" It will also provide more information on how to use these small motor vehicles safely on roadways and designated areas. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also help with questions such as can people with one eye drive in Texas?


What Is a Golf Cart?

What Is a Golf Cart?


Before delving into the heart of the matter, it's important to first understand what a golf cart is and what it is used for.


A golf cart is a small vehicle intended for short-distance travel. It is commonly used on golf courses to move players and their gear from one hole to the next and often ha an open design. These vehicles can seat up to four people. Golf carts are fueled by electricity or gas and are recognized for their relatively quiet operation and ability to travel at modest speeds.


What Is a Golf Cart Used for, and Can It Be Taken Off the Golf Course?

While their principal use is on the golf course, these flexible vehicles have found other uses, such as in senior villages, vast industrial complexes, and entertainment areas. Golf carts, with their basic form and ease of use, provide a practical and effective mode of transportation in a variety of contexts.


Licensing

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles does not register or title golf carts. However, these small motor vehicles are eligible for a special license plate. Applicants may visit their local county tax office to obtain a golf cart license plate.


Why Are Golf Carts an Attractive Option for Residents?

Golf carts have grown popular on the streets of some Texas cities, especially those with golf-centric home projects. Golf carts are appealing since they make it easier to navigate these communities without the use of a typical vehicle.


Moreover, many golf carts are more fuel-efficient than other types of vehicles, which makes them a peferrable choice for many. Moreover, no or low emissions make the golf cart a more sustainable option than an off-highway vehicle, adding to their appeal.


The Conditions for Using a Golf Cart


The Texas Transportation Code, the legislative foundation that governs the state's roads, offers the framework for establishing the permissible use of golf carts on public streets. A key aspect is distinguishing between privately held golf carts and those utilized for business purposes. The law clearly distinguishes between Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) and recreational golf carts.


NEVs are electric cars that are capable of reaching speeds of up to 35 mph and are designed for use on roads that have speed limits of 45 mph or less. To be considered street legal, these vehicles, including golf carts, must meet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) safety criteria.


Slow-moving Vehicle Emblem, Headlamps, Mirrors, and More

To be considered legal for use in Texas, golf carts have to satisfy certain conditions established in the transportation code. These include having the following elements: 


  • A slow-moving vehicle emblem

  • Rearview mirrors

  • Headlights

  • Reflectors

  • Parking brakes

  • Taillights


Furthermore, the golf cart must have a reliable braking system and a windshield, and its operator will need to have a valid driver's permit.


The law pays special attention to safety to reduce any risks associated with the introduction of golf carts onto public streets, thereby promoting the safety of other motorists and pedestrians.


Traffic Laws Pertaining to Golf Carts

The truth is that golf carts are subject to the same traffic laws as other motor vehicles when on the road. This means yielding the right of way, following traffic signals, stopping at intersections or stop streets, and following speed limits.


However, it's important to remember that golf carts may not be used at a speed that exceeds 35 mph on roadways unless otherwise stated by the county or municipality.


County and Municipality Regulations Regarding Golf Carts


Texas also permits municipalities and counties to restrict the operation of motorized golf carts on their local roads.


This implies that while state law offers a fundamental framework, each community may have its own set of laws and restrictions on golf cart usage. To prevent legal ramifications, residents must be informed of and follow local regulations. A top personal injury lawyer in Houston can give more insight to these local regulations.


Where Can a Golf Cart Be Used in the State of Texas?

Where Can a Golf Cart Be Used in the State of Texas?


Texas golf cart laws define where street-legal golf carts may be used in the state.


  • Beaches. Golf carts may be used at a public or private beach where motor vehicle traffic is permitted.

  • Public roadways. These vehicles may also be used on roadways with a posted speed limit of 35 mph. Keep in mind that golf carts may only be operated on public roads during the daytime and may be used within two miles from the spot where it is regularly parked.

  • Intersections. Golf carts may also be used to cross intersections, which include those with highways with listed speed limits of over 35 mph.

  • Master planned community. This kind of motor vehicle can be driven in a master-planned neighborhood that has a consistent set of restrictive covenants.


It's important to check local laws to determine whether additional restrictions apply.


Need Help Navigating Texas Law?


There's no doubt that golf carts are becoming more popular among the residents of Texas. However, ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal law is imperative to avoid any penalties. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also help with questions like is it illegal to drive with high beams on?


The truth is that understanding the law is no easy task for those with no legal background. Fortunately, motorists interested in bringing a golf cart onto the road can turn to Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys for advice.


Suppose a law regarding golf carts was violated, leading to a personal injury. In that case, the law firm will provide rigorous legal defense and isn't afraid to go to war for victims.


Sufferers can contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys to schedule a free consultation where they can discuss the specifics of their case.

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