New Ga. law requires safety features on golf carts

Monday, Dec. 26, 2011 1:09 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011 1:52 AM
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Golf cart owners in Georgia will soon have stricter requirements to follow if they plan to drive their carts on roads.

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In this Dec. 20, 2011 photo, passengers get out of their golf cart after parking in a busy shopping center parking lot in Peachtree City, Ga. Golf cart owners in Georgia will soon have stricter requirements to follow if they plan to drive their carts on roadways. (AP Photo/David Goldman)  David Goldman
David Goldman
In this Dec. 20, 2011 photo, passengers get out of their golf cart after parking in a busy shopping center parking lot in Peachtree City, Ga. Golf cart owners in Georgia will soon have stricter requirements to follow if they plan to drive their carts on roadways. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A law taking effect Sunday creates a separate classification of personal transportation vehicles for golf carts. It also sets standards for towns and counties wanting to create ordinances allowing drivers to use the carts on residential streets and multipurpose pathways. The law requires that golf carts have braking systems, a reverse warning device, tail lamps, a horn and hip restraints.

The carts must weigh less than 1,375 pounds and have a top speed of no more than 20 mph. They must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The bill was signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal this year after his predecessor, Gov. Sonny Perdue, vetoed a similar measure last year. It had backing from one of Georgia’s key industries – golf cart manufacturing.

The Georgia-based International Light Transportation Vehicle Association, formerly known as the National Golf Cars Manufacturers Association – which prefers the term “car” to “cart” – estimates that 90 percent of the golf carts used in the U.S. are made in Georgia.

“Safety is what we’re concerned about,” said Fred L. Somers Jr., the secretary of the association. “Unless you put in some safety equipment accessories, you’re just asking for trouble.”

Golf carts are a cheaper form of transportation for people who live in cities where they don’t need to travel far to go to the grocery store, he contended.

Just 23 Georgia cities have golf cart ordinances, with some places, such as Peachtree City near Atlanta and Hahira in south Georgia creating golf cart lanes along roads, according to the Georgia Municipal Association. Spokeswoman Amy Henderson said the ordinances began popping up a couple of years ago when gas prices spiked, pushing people to cheaper alternatives for getting around town.

State lawmakers who sponsored the legislation did not return requests for comment.

Other laws going into effect next week include a measure allowing cities with 911 centers to require retailers selling prepaid cell phones to charge a fee to support the emergency systems. Towns can charge businesses up to 75 cents per sale, though the fee doesn’t apply to sales of $5.00 or less.

Key parts of Georgia’s new law targeting illegal immigration are also set to take effect. Starting Sunday, any employer with 500 or more employees will have to use a federal database called E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of all new hires.

The mandate is being phased in with smaller businesses that have 100 or more employees required to use the database starting July 1, and companies with more than 10 employees to start using E-verify by July 2013.

Employers with 10 or few employees are exempt from this requirement.

The law’s sponsor and supporters said they wanted to deter illegal immigrants from coming to Georgia by making it tougher for them to work in the state. Already, any company with a federal contract is required to use E-Verify, and Georgia has required state and local government agencies and their contractors to use the database since 2007.

But the new law could cause trouble for many businesses, experts say.

“Many Georgia businesses are confused with respect to the provisions of the law that have to do with E-Verify,” said Atlanta lawyer Teri A. Simmons, who advises businesses on immigration and employment matters. “Within most businesses, human resources professionals are already dealing with so much that it’s hard to also fit in E-Verify training and administration.”

When Georgia’s governor signed the law in May, Georgia joined Arizona and several other states that have recently enacted tough laws taking aim at illegal immigration. Federal judges have since blocked all or parts of the various laws, and Arizona’s is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Also taking effect Jan. 1 is a provision that any agency administering public benefits must require each applicant to provide at least one “secure and verifiable document.”

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seenitB4
87178
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seenitB4 12/27/11 - 07:36 am
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Some parks in the North Ga.

Some parks in the North Ga. mountains have many seniors using these carts....perfect way for them to get around...they love them.
Camping parks will usually have some used carts for sale....

tombee
35
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tombee 12/27/11 - 10:19 am
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Golf carts should never share

Golf carts should never share the road with cars. They have becom
e latest toy for kids. This is very poor public policy.

southern2
6133
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southern2 12/27/11 - 11:10 am
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We were denied cart access at

We were denied cart access at a Clark Hill campground. Seems like the perfect place for cart use.

Bob Munger
0
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Bob Munger 12/27/11 - 11:23 am
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There is lots of terminology

There is lots of terminology confusion around this subject. Golf cars are not the same as Personal Transport Vehicles (PTV's) or Low Speed Vehicles (LSV's). Golf cars lack safety equipment and are never permitted on conventional vehicular roadways. Neither golf cars nor PTV;s nor LSV;s should be allowed on roadways when driven by children.

LSV's and PTV's on 20 or 25 MPH roads make a lot of sense, considering they lessen our reliance on foreign oil and emit no air pollution or greenhouse gases at the point of use. They also help control speeding (effective at traffic calming).

Georgia needs to step up its support of the low speed electric vehicle industry by backing the Georgia Alternative, Sustainable Transportation Act (GASTA). By doing so, it will help grow jobs in Georgia and make the state a leader in sustainable transportation.

Bob Munger
President, Augusta Greenway Alliance

fftaz71
108
Points
fftaz71 12/27/11 - 12:35 pm
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Mr. Munger, a law passed in

Mr. Munger, a law passed in May allows golf carts on the road with proper safety equipment if they are on a road with a speed limit of 20mph or less starting next month. There is currently a law on the books in Columbia County that says they cannot be operated on a roadway with a speed limit over 35mph and they are supposed to be licensed drivers that operate them, but Ive seen many kids driving golf carts in our neighborhood. http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/business/local-business/2011-03-31/bil...

Golf carts can be built with proper safety equipment, such as headlights and seatbelts. Many already have reverse warning sounds and horns. Operated properly and safely, golf carts are very effective...but they can also be very dangerous.

Bob Munger
0
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Bob Munger 12/27/11 - 12:58 pm
0
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Golf cars, when supplemented

Golf cars, when supplemented with the proper safety equipment, are in fact considered PTV's, if they do not exceed 20 MPH. Without the added devices, they are merely golf cars and forbidden on roadways. LSV's are similar, with 25 MPH top speed and a seat belt required.

I have also heard and seen many golf cars used by children on roadways. This is a matter of concern that needs to be addresed by parents and by law enforcement. Part of the problem is also a lack of knowledge on the part of many people of what the rules are.

scgator
1042
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scgator 12/27/11 - 06:52 pm
0
0
“Many Georgia businesses are

“Many Georgia businesses are confused with respect to the provisions of the law that have to do with E-Verify,” said Atlanta lawyer Teri A. Simmons, who advises businesses on immigration and employment matters. “Within most businesses, human resources professionals are already dealing with so much that it’s hard to also fit in E-Verify training and administration.”

You know, this could be real simple............."Do you have documentation allowing you to legally work in this country? HOWEVER, THERE ARE LAWS ON THE BOOKS MAKING IT ILLEGAL TO EVEN ASK THIS QUESTION; EVEN OUR SCHOOLS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ASK IF A POTENTIAL STUDENT IS A U.S. CITIZEN.

Little Lamb
46017
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Little Lamb 12/28/11 - 09:01 am
0
0
Thank you for bringing up the

Thank you for bringing up the more important section of this story, scgator. This Teri Simmons wins yesterday's award for Biggest Whiner of the Day:

But the new law could cause trouble for many businesses, experts say. “Many Georgia businesses are confused with respect to the provisions of the law that have to do with E-Verify,” said Atlanta lawyer Teri A. Simmons, who advises businesses on immigration and employment matters. “Within most businesses, human resources professionals are already dealing with so much that it’s hard to also fit in E-Verify training and administration.”

Wah, wah, wah.

These home construction businesses and agribusinesses do not want to obey the law mandating legal workers. The business owners want to exploit and abuse the illegal workers to skim under-the-table profits for themselves. It is these business owners who are behind the lawsuits seeking to overturn the tough immigration laws, and they are succeeding in courts across the land.

The U.S. Justice Department is also complicit in giving cover to the Obama administration while said administration makes a mockery of enforcing the laws of the land.

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