Alabama Golf Cart Laws
Like all states in the nation, Alabama has a multitude of regulations that control when golf carts can be driven on public roads and what kind of roads on which they can drive.
Golf cart owners interested in taking their carts on public roads must follow these rules to ensure that they don’t run into legal troubles.
Most of these laws are fairly easy to understand but do take a little understanding of legal differentiation between various vehicles and road types to ensure a full understanding.
Alabama Does Not Allow Golf Cart Access on Public Roads
Currently, Alabama – like most other states – do not allow golf carts on public roads.
This limitation is necessary because golf carts do not possess safety protection or engines powerful enough to meet most minimum driving speeds on most roads.
Keeping standard golf carts off of the road helps to keep the drivers safe from injury and avoids other issues that may develop as a result.
However, golf carts may be taken on some public roads if their owners upgrade them into low-speed vehicles.
Legal Definition of a Cart
According to laws set down by many Alabama cities, carts are defined in many different ways.
For example, a resolution by the city of Golf Shores in Alabama defined golf carts as a vehicle equipped with seat belts for each rider, headlights, brake lights, turn signals, a windshield, a rearview mirror, strong breaks, reliable steering, safe tires, and red reflector warning devices.
This resolution was designed to allow properly-equipped golf carts access to certain public roads on or near golf courses.
It was drafted after those residents who lived in such areas in the city wanted the ability to drive carts in such a way.
These changes do not go against state law which, as previously mentioned, did not allow the use of golf carts on public roads.
In fact, the resolution goes out of its way to state that it does not endorse the use of golf carts in such a way.
However, such law changes are regulated by regulations for what are known as low-speed vehicles.
These vehicles differ from golf carts in a handful of ways.
However, a golf cart can become a low-speed vehicle with some minor to major alterations of its design and style.
Anyone who wants to consider driving a golf cart on any road needs to understand these upgrades.
Rules Regarding Driving on Public Roads
Further extensions of these rules stated that nobody who was less than 18 years old and without a license could drive a golf cart on a public road.
These regulations don’t manage cart use on private land, however, though in this circumstance, roads on or near golf courses do count as public roads.
The city further stated that carts can only be operated between sunrise and sunset and must have headlights on at all times, regardless of the level of light present during operation.
And, importantly, once a golf cart has been upgraded for use on public roads, any driver must adhere to all of the State and municipal laws regulating driving motor vehicles.
These rules include following all speed limits and not operating while under the influence of alcohol.
Carts also cannot overtake and pass in the same lane as a vehicle being overtaken and cannot operate between lanes of traffic or rows of drivers.
Carts must also yield the right of way to any vehicle when on the road. Such strict regulations of traffic help to protect not only the cart driver but those drivers of more traditional vehicles.
As mentioned previously, carts must also possess seat belts for every occupant.
If a driver tries to fit more people on a cart than it has seat belts, they may be prosecuted by municipal or state authorities.
And no child under the age of five can be driven on a golf cart on public roads for safety reasons.
Alabama Low-Speed Vehicle Regulations
Low-speed vehicles are any motorized vehicle that meets basic safety standards and power and control standards.
Golf carts may meet these standards if they are upgraded in a variety of ways.
As mentioned previously, they need headlights, reflectors, seat belts, and other changes to their design to make them powerful enough to be considered low-speed vehicles.
Carts also need mirrors and directional signals to be considered low-speed vehicles.
Engine and four-wheel brake upgrades are crucial, as it must be capable of hitting at least 15 miles per hour for safety purposes.
And, according to Alabama state law, any low-speed vehicle must possess a 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number or VIN.
These numbers should be present on most golf carts, though it may be necessary to register for one.
Speak with your municipal or state authorities to learn more about this legal aspect.
Federal Golf Cart Laws
Even though our guides are thorough and researched, it is highly recommended that you perform your own research and check with your local municipality on rules as well.