The Hattiesburg City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt an ordinance regulating the use of golf carts on city streets.
The draft decree was introduced at the August 1 Board working session by Wing 1 Board member Jeffrey George.
George said that while there was no specific incident that sparked the idea of the decree, he has heard from some residents who have safety concerns and see an increase in underage drivers.
He said, “I began exploring the council’s golf cart law proposal a few months ago after speaking with residents about their concerns and seeing the increase in golf cart use around our city.” Overall, my main motive was to place an order in. It was a safe place for those on golf carts and motor vehicle drivers sharing the road.”
click here To read the full draft of the decree
In 2021, state lawmakers passed a bill that would allow municipalities to adopt ordinances to regulate golf carts and other low-speed vehicles, including limiting the streets on which vehicles are permitted, requiring vehicle registrations and requiring drivers to have a valid driver’s license and insurance, among other things.
The definition of a low-speed vehicle under the law is a four-wheeled vehicle with a top speed of more than 20 mph but less than 25 mph. Vehicles, including golf carts, must have safety equipment such as headlights, taillights, turn signals, side mirrors, windshields and more in accordance with the Federal Transportation Code. Vehicles and drivers must also comply with other federal and state laws that govern vehicles on city streets.
What you need to know:Will golf carts soon be legal on the streets of Hattiesburg?
Several other cities in the state have adopted ordinances regulating golf carts, including Madison and Ocean Springs.
What do you want to know about the new law? Hattiesburg officials have compiled responses to some frequently asked questions. This is what they said:
- Why is the decree necessary? Until the law was passed, operating golf carts and low-speed vehicles was illegal within city limits. The ordinance not only makes it legal, but makes provisions that prioritize public safety.
- How much will the registration be? The fee structure has not yet been determined.
- If I already own a golf cart or low-speed cart, do I have to register it for legal use? yes. Legal use requires the vehicle to be registered with the City Clerk office. All registered vehicles will be required to put a sticker on their golf cart or low speed vehicle to prove registration.
- Once registered, can I drive my golf cart on any city street? no. Golf carts and registered low-speed vehicles must only operate on public roads and city streets where there is a speed limit of 30 mph or less. The city traffic commission can also block other roads based on traffic statistics, recommendations of governing authorities, street design and other factors.
- Once I am registered, will it have to be renewed? The registration will remain valid for as long as the holder is the owner of a golf cart or low speed vehicle. Replacement labels for lost or damaged items can be purchased for an additional fee.
- Who will enforce it? The Hattiesburg Police Department will enforce traffic and road regulations in the ordinance. Quotes will be written for unauthorized operation of a golf cart or low speed cart.
- What if my golf cart loses some street legal requirements? All golf carts and low speed vehicles must meet operable safety standards before they can be registered.
- Can a minor driver operate my registered golf cart or low speed vehicle under my supervision or authority? no. The law regulates that all drivers operating a golf cart or low-speed vehicle have a valid driver’s license and proof of financial responsibility as required by state law. Underage or unlicensed driving will not be permitted.
- What happens if underage drivers are stopped for running our family’s golf cart or low speed car? The Hattiesburg Police Department will issue an application for unlicensed driving. This is considered a misdemeanor. The fine is $445.