St. Johns County deputies crack down on golf cart safety

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — At the Nocatee Publix, you’ll find special parking spots for golf carts.

Jim Clayton said he’s seen more and more on the road in the past few years, and with more golf cart traffic, he said accidents follow.

“We’ve had accidents. We’ve had kids just doing crazy stuff and hitting the poles and people getting injured,” Clayton said.

To keep families safe on the road, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office started a golf cart safety initiative.

“There’s a lot of golf cart communities popping up throughout the county. So, we thought as an organization we need to get in front of this issue before it becomes a bigger problem,” St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Director Scott Beaver said.

In 2021, the Sheriff’s Office recorded 21 golf cart crashes. Deputies said those crashes resulted in three incapacitating injuries and one death. Six of those drivers were juveniles.

Kids as young as 14 years old, with photo I.D., can operate a golf cart, and that worries some residents.

“They’re not as safe. Speed is how they drive and they got four or five kids in them,” Clayton said.

The safety initiative targets all ages, whether you’re in the driver’s seat or a passenger.

The sheriff’s office plans to put one of their own out there.

“As an agency, we have our own golf cart. so we can put deputies out on our golf cart and they will patrol Nocatee, specifically, right now,” Beaver said.

Officials also said the initiative is to help educate residents on the difference between a low-speed vehicle and a golf cart.

A golf cart cannot go faster than 20 mph and can only be driven on designated roads. A low-speed vehicle may travel up to 25 mph and can be driven on any county road with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less.

At this time, the sheriff’s office is working with one golf cart that was donated. They said they hope to implement more in the future.

To learn more about golf cart safety, click here.

You can read more about county ordinance 2010-48 here.