Since the beginning of 2018, Florida Highway Patrol reports that there have been approximately 11 accidents involving low speed vehicles on Back Beach Road in Panama City Beach.
With Labor Day Weekend approaching, FHP Spokesman, Lt. Eddie Elmore, said you can expect more cars to be on the roads, including low speed vehicles and golf carts.
But Panama City Beach Police Chief, Drew Whitman, explained that the city has ordinances that address where exactly they can be driven.
“The only exceptions are you cannot drive them on Back Beach Road, Front Beach Road, or Middle Beach Road because those are U.S. Highways,” he said. “Or Highway 79 or some other feeder streets like Richard Jackson, Alf Coleman, Clara Avenue, Hills Road, Powell Adams.”
Chief Whitman said the city has different rules for low speed vehicles, which are different than golf carts.
“That’s a vehicle that goes between 20 miles an hour and 25 miles an hour,” he said. “It has to have seatbelts, has to have turn signals, has to have break lights, it’s got to have side mirrors and a rear view mirrors — has to have the speed on placard, you have to have insurance on it and you also have to have a license plate on it.”
He said the city allows low speed vehicles on any road with a speed limit of 35 MPH or less.
“If you see a low speed vehicle on Front Beach Road with a license plate, they’re authorized because it’s only 25 and 35 on Front Beach,” Whitman said.
But Lt. Elmore said it’s important that these vehicles stay off Back Beach Road, because it can interfere with traffic, and safety.
“If there’s a crash involving a vehicle and a golf cart, and the golf cart is trying to compete with the vehicle — it’s not going to turn out too well just based on the dynamics of the crashes that we’ve seen,” he said.
Whitman said that drivers of low speed vehicles are treated like a driver of a motor vehicle.
“If you’re driving it recklessly where you’re endangering your life or someone else’s life, or property, you could be arrested for reckless driving, you could be arrested for DUI,” he said.
Drivers of golf carts and low speed vehicles can also face a fine up to $167 for driving in areas where they are prohibited.