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Golf Cart Injuries Reveal Need for Safety Standards

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 22-Apr-2009

As reported by Science Daily  and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the injury rate for golf carts increased over 130% between 1990 and 2006.   Golf carts  are becoming more popular as primary transportation at sporting events, hospitals, airports, military bases, businesses, parks and college campuses.   About 1,000 Americans a month are injured in golf cart accidents.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Center for Injury Research and Policy, where the first comprehensive study relating to golf cart injuries was conducted, recommends "Because golf carts are not designed for the safe transportation of children, their use for transporting children should be strongly discouraged….In addition, private and public facilities that allow golf cart use can help prevent cart–related injuries by requiring driver’s licenses and safety/operations training, establishing safety policies and considering golf cart safety in the design of pathways and landscapes. Given the large increase in golf cart–related injuries over the study period, greater efforts are needed to prevent these injuries, especially among children."

According to a another study conducted by the Center for Injury Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, golf cart injuries are steadily and significantly increasing, an indication that safety standards and driver education are needed.  "The researchers analyzed a national database of emergency room records from 2002 through 2005. They conservatively estimated there were about 48,000 golf cart accidents nationwide during that four-year period, or about 1,000 a month. Roughly half the accidents occurred on golf courses, the other half at homes, on streets and on other public property.  Fractures and head trauma were the most common injuries found in the study. The highest injury rates were found in 10- to 19-year-old boys and men older than 80."

Manufacturers and sellers of golf carts are not required to provide safety education, and neither helmets nor seat belts are required.  Some states do have a few regulations affecting golf cart use.  With little federal regulation and most states not even requiring operators to obtain a license to operate a golf cart, the injuries will continue to increase.

For information about your legal rights, please contact Regan Zambri & Long online or by calling 202-759-6699.

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