Increase in golf cart accidents raising concern in South Walton

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SOUTH WALTON Fla. (WMBB) — Residents and officials have seen an increase in golf cart accidents with an overwhelming amount of pediatric trauma calls.

First responders are using an aggressive approach to minimize these accidents.

“We have an increase in golf cart-related accidents,” said South Walton Fire District Public Information Officer Mackenzie McClintock. 

Although some accidents result in non-life-threatening injuries, paramedics have tended to patients left unconscious after being ejected or hit by a car.

“We are facing that almost weekly at this point, and we just want to make everybody aware that safety has to be your number one priority when you are using those low-speed vehicles,” said McClintock.

McClintock said the same driving rules apply when you are operating a low-speed vehicle, all to keep people safe.

“People can be tossed onto the pavement or tossed into nearby landscaping and hit their heads,” she said. “And people are not wearing helmets whenever they are in a golf cart, so again there are traumatic brain injuries often associated with these.”

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is taking traffic stops seriously, and handing out tickets.

“In the month of July, just last month, we have made up to 400 traffic stops and we do have an aggressive plan on dealing with low-speed vehicles that are in violation,” said WCSO Chief of Operations Audie Rowell. 

Low-speed vehicles or those golf carts are only allowed to be driving on roadways that are 35 miles per hour or less. And when it comes to parking, SWFD has been having a difficult time navigating emergency vehicles around golf carts.

“Golf carts blocking those accessways completely eliminates any possibility for those firetrucks to be able to get in there,” said McClintock.

WCSO will continue their traffic stops even into the slower season, to ensure that everyone is staying safe.

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