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Florida Legislature sends bill raising age to operate a golf cart to the Governor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s 14-year-old golf cart drivers will likely have to hang up their keys starting later this year… At least until they get a learner’s permit.

It’s the result of a bill headed to the Governor’s desk after clearing the Florida Senate Monday.

St. Johns Parent Travis Eckert knows firsthand the dangers golf carts can pose.

“My 16-year-old was in a golf cart accident a couple of years ago,” said Eckert.

Thankfully, he said his daughter wasn’t seriously injured.

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In Florida you only have to be 14 years old to drive a golf cart on public roads - An age limit Eckert believes is too low.

“We’ve forbidden my 14-year-old to drive just cause I see what’s happening. We almost had a kid in the neighborhood die a few months back,” said Eckert.

Dozens of golf cart crashes in the county sparked St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick to suggest raising the age limit.

State Representative Cyndi Stevenson (R-St. Augustine) answered the call.

“We have video of kids being thrown from the golf carts,” said Stevenson.

Stevenson’s bill would require Floridians younger than 18 to obtain a learner’s permit or driver’s license before getting behind the wheel of a golf cart.

Those over 18 would now need to carry a state-issued ID while operating one of the vehicles.

“When somebody falls from a golf cart they can have, especially children, can have serious head and neck injuries,” said Stevenson.

And St. Johns parents we spoke with told us they support the idea, hoping it will make not only make their community safer but the state as a whole.

“I don’t even think the kids should have phones at that age, so they really shouldn’t be driving a golf cart,” said parent Katherine Norris.

“You see the kids around here driving a little bit crazy,” said Mike Guglielmo.

“I’m all for it. I don’t think it’s not something kids should be doing,” said Eckert.

The Governor still needs to sign the bill into law.

He hasn’t weighed in on it so far.

If he does sign it, the requirements will kick in on October 1st of this year.


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