A new study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2017 & Exhibition in Chicago September 18, 2017, shows that an increase in the use of golf carts off the course has caused a significant number of children to be harmed.
Seven years ago, Alexis Flores was 15 years old and a sophomore at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School in Pharr, Texas, participating in the student athletic trainer program and playing third base on the high school's softball team. On September 9, 2010, her supervising trainer asked her to board a two-seater golf cart with himself and another student and drove toward the football field to set up water and equipment for a junior varsity football game. He took a sharp left turn, and Flores was ejected from the cart onto her right knee, tearing her ACL and shattering her dreams of playing softball again that spring.
A growing number of people in retirement communities across the country are driving golf carts for more than just sport due to their convenience, efficiency, and low costs. Despite their increased use on public roads, their overall safety record is not tracked nationally, leading to concerns about how they are used and regulated. Golf carts are designed to travel at less than 20 miles per hour and are not required to meet any federal safety standards, including the installation of seatbelts. Regulation comes at the state level. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that in 2015, nearly 18,000 golf cart-related injuries nationwide required emergency room treatment to people of all ages.
A six-year old girl has been killed in a golf-cart crash in Trinity County, Texas. The tragic accident occurred in the afternoon on Sunday, January 17th 2016. The little girl was visiting with her family on a trip from Bacliff, Texas. According to ABC13, "Officials say two children were in a golf cart when it overturned onto its side while making a turn."
Many people do not realize the number of fatalities caused by golf cart accidents; golf carts are seen as a mere leisure tool and are also thought to be harmless. In 2007, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System conducted an analysis of golf cart related injuries from 1990-2006. The results showed an estimated 147,696 people being treated in the Emergency Department.