With many retirement communities scattered around the Sunshine State, Florida is a hotbed for golf carts and low-speed vehicles (LSVs). The state has recently put into place laws for both golf carts and low-speed vehicles.
Before a person purchases a new vehicle to get around, it is essential to know all the rules and regulations in the state. Let’s take a look at the different laws to keep in mind.
What is the difference between a golf cart and a LSV?
Compared to a standard vehicle, a cart and a low-speed vehicle might seem like the same. Both vehicles travel slower than the normal flow of traffic. However, in Florida, a low-speed vehicle requires an operator license to drive. A standard cart designed for the course has more lenient rules.
The statute in the state of Florida says that a LSV must be four-wheeled, electric and able to go over 20 mph. It must also not exceed 25 mph. When a golf cart falls under this category, it must have an official tag issued from the DMV.
Drivers are also required to carry insurance. Other than the speed of the vehicle, a low-speed vehicle is viewed the same as a car, truck or van (in the eyes of the law). A low-speed vehicle can operate on any road that has a posted speed limit of 35 mph or lower.
Electric golf carts at the local course usually do not reach 20 mph in most cases. This difference is due to safety issues, and because there is no need to go extremely fast on the golf course.
Anyone 14 years of age or older can drive a cart not only on the course but on public roads. The road must be designed for golf carts, and that usually comes with a cart sign to signify it. Typically, these roads are only going to be found in residential neighborhoods.
What Are the Golf Cart Laws in Florida?
As soon as a person turns 14 years of age, they are legally allowed to drive a golf cart in the state of Florida. Driving a cart comes with some serious restrictions. Carts are relegated to specific types of roads, and they can only be on the road at certain times.
There are some cities in the state that allow for a little bit more leeway, but if not posted, golf carts can only be operated from sunrise to sunset.
If a driver does not have a valid driver’s license, they must provide another form of identification if pulled over. Despite not needing a formal driver’s license, drivers are still liable for damage the same way a standard driver would be. That also means that a driver can face the same type of punishment as they would in their car if they operate the golf cart under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Most people will invest in some insurance coverage that will protect golf cart drivers. The insurance can usually be an add-on to standard Florida minimum requirements for operating registered vehicles. Having coverage is especially necessary for those adults who plan on allowing their teenaged children to operate a cart regularly.
What Are the LSV Laws in Florida?
While Florida golf cart laws are rather laid back, LSV laws are strict. Essentially, a person is driving a standard vehicle with a few limitations. The first major limitation is that they are not allowed on roads with speed limits over 35 mph. The other involves night-time driving. Even when equipped with lights, many communities restrict the use of low-speed vehicles at night.
A driver must be licensed and 16 years of age to operate a low-speed vehicle. The vehicle itself must pass inspection first, especially since a lot of people like to modify their vehicle as much as possible.
Adding headlamps, turn signals, rearview mirrors and more all make the vehicle safer, but some alter their low-speed vehicle to make them faster. Pushing the limit to over 25 mph can put the vehicle in a different category entirely.
Personal Injury Protection and Property Damage Liability insurances is necessary for any LSV. Any alcohol-related offense is treated the same way as in other vehicles. These vehicles can still do a lot of damage if driven recklessly, which is why the law views them as standard vehicles.
In some cities, they have specific laws for low-speed vehicles. Having a little bit more leniency can encourage people in that area to invest in this type of vehicle. Each city with provides its’ own specific laws for LSVs will have them posted on their official website.
What Do You Need for the DMV to Register a LSV?
To properly register a low-speed vehicle, the following must be provided:
- The Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin
- Form HSMSV 82040 (The formal application for the title)
- Proof of Florida Insurance (minimum $10,000 Property Damage and $10,000 Personal Injury Protection)
- Money For Applicable fees (Title, Plate and, Registration)
Florida continues to grow as a state, and more and more people are looking at golf carts and low-speed vehicles as safe, efficient ways to get around in residential areas. As long as a person is not recklessly driving in one, these vehicles require no gas, are easy to jump in and out of and spacious enough to carry around multiple people.
Despite the lack of top-end speed, these vehicles can still do damage. Following the law when operating a cart or low-speed vehicle will lead to a safer community overall.