Lake Tightening Up Golf Cart Rules

Lake Waccamaw's revised golf cart ordinance requires the same restraints for children as state law does for other motor vehicles. (Submitted)
Lake Waccamaw's revised golf cart ordinance requires the same restraints for children as state law does for other motor vehicles. (Submitted)

As the busiest week of the year gets underway at Lake Waccamaw, police are reminding golf cart users to be sure children are properly buckled up.

Lake Waccamaw was the first municipality in the county to legalize approved golf carts on town streets a decade ago, when state law eased rules on golf carts. Carts at the lake must be inspected by the town, and small children must be secured in proper restraints, just like in an automobile.

 Police Chief Scott Hyatt presented the commissioners with a modified, clarified golf cart ordinance last month after some residents questioned the requirement for children to be secured in safety seats.

Under the new rules, infants and toddlers must be safely buckled in to a properly secured NCDOT approved child safety seat whenever a golf cart is in motion. Car seats are required until a child can properly use a booster seat. Booster seats must “lift a child high enough in the seat to ensure proper seat belt usage,” the ordinance reads. Lap belts must fit across the hips not the stomach, the ordinance said.

Hyatt noted that children grow at different rates, but “these conditions are typically met when a child is over four feet tall and between five and eight years old.”

Five point harnesses may be used on children four and older, and the child cannot slide out of the harness.

The town suggested that the best was to see if a child is large enough to use a seat belt is to have your child sit tall in the seat, with their backside against the seat and knees bent normally at the front. If the seat belt will then cross the upper thighs and hip area, the child does not need a booster seat.

“We don’t want to prevent anyone from taking their child out on a golf cart,” Hyatt said last month, when the ordinance was in the works. “We don’t want to write more tickets. We care about the safety of the child, first and foremost. That’s what this is about.”

About Jefferson Weaver 2149 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at [email protected].