- Special Sections
- Public Notices
A new state law that goes into effect Oct. 1 will increase the distance golf cart owners can drive from their homes on local roads and imposes new permitting requirements.
The law, signed by Gov. Nikki Haley last month, allows golf carts to be driven on secondary roads four miles from the registered owner’s home, double the distance allowed by the state’s previous golf cart law, ratified in 1976.
The changes also allow cart drivers who live in gated communities, such as Indian Land’s Sun City Carolina Lakes, to operate their carts up to four-miles from the community’s controlled entrances.
The law requires golf cart owner/drivers to obtain a new permit from the state Department of Motor Vehicles every five years and when they have a change of address.
Those with permits issued on or before Oct. 1, 2012, have until Sept. 30, 2015, to obtain a replacement permit.
As before, only licensed, insured drivers are allowed to drive the carts on state highways and roads and only during daylight hours. They may only drive on secondary highways and streets with speed limits of 35 mph or less.
Drivers must carry their driver’s license, registration certificate issued by the DMV and proof of liability insurance for the golf cart.
Sun City Carolina Lakes Community Manager Dennis McGarvey, of Wentworth Property Management Corp., said there are about 500 or more golf carts registered to the community’s 2,200 units.
He estimated that as many as half of the community’s residents don’t even own cars.
Since surrounding roads have speed limits of more than 35 mph and the community shares an entrance with the Carolina Commons shopping center next door, McGarvey said he doesn’t expect the changes in the new law to affect residents much, if at all.
“There really aren’t any changes that will affect our residents except for the new permit every five years, and they’ll comply with that,” McGarvey said. “If you go out our front entryway on (U.S.) 521, there’s really not anything else within four miles.
“Now, I come from a huge community out in Las Vegas where the four-mile limit might be a problem, but we’re not really large enough here,” he said.
Under the new law, drivers are still allowed to cross a highway or street with higher speed limits at an intersection so long as they are driving on an approved highway or street.
The new law specifically exempts public safety agencies in the state from its provisions, including the limitations on which roads they may operate, distance and time of day.
It also allows local governments to reduce the four-mile distance, though no less than two miles.