Earlier this year, Gov. Deal enacted a new law passed by the Georgia Legislature that changes the rules for golf carts on our state’s roads. While the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office sent out an announcement advising residents of the new law, many residents may be wondering why the law was changed and how it will affect them. Prior to July 2013, golf carts were only allowed on roads and crosswalks with appropriate signage that was authorized by the Department of Transportation. Under that law, very few roads had this type of signage, with the exception of golf courses and golf course communities. Rarely, if ever, did crosswalks have signage indicating a golf cart crossing. Passed this session, House Bill (HB) 384 – which amends O.C.G.A. § 40-6-331 – clarifies the existing law. It takes authority away from the Department of Transportation and, instead, allows for local government to make the determination as to what roads golf carts should and should not be allowed to drive on. For obvious reasons, local government is more likely to be able to make an informed decision about what subdivisions are golf cart friendly, and what roads should be deemed golf cart permissible. The new law requires Georgia counties, including Forsyth County (or the City of Cumming), to post 24 x 30 inch signs, paid for by taxpayers, advising golf carts are able to be used on a particular road or
If someone is stopped for using a golf cart on an undesignated road or crosswalk, the maximum punishment, which remains unchanged, is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a maximum of 12 months in jail and a $1000 fine. This punishment seems to indicate that law enforcement and the court system will be aggressive in enforcing this law.