Georgia Amends Laws Regarding Golf Cars and Other PTVs

Local governments throughout Georgia will soon be able to regulate the use of golf cars and other personal transportation vehicles (PTVs) within their jurisdictions.

On April 25, Gov. Nathan Deal signed GA HB 877 into law in Augusta, Ga. The bill establishes a framework for these regulations and clarifies the definition of PTVs by merging motorized carts, golf cars and golf carts into one category now known as PTVs.

The bill also encourages local authorities to develop transportation plans to create a safe environment for PTVs. The bill will become effective July 1, 2014.

"This legislation continues the national trend toward allowing the use of cost-effective, environmentally friendly golf cars and other PTVs for local transportation. PTVs help control transportation costs and reduce carbon emissions," says the CEO and President Marc Dufour of Club Car, which is based in Augusta.

PTVs are defined as any motor vehicle with:

a minimum of four wheels
a maximum level-ground speed of less than 20 mph
a maximum empty weight of 1,375 pounds
seating for no more than eight people.

Once the bill is enacted, these vehicles may be operated on roadways with speed limits of 25 mph or less, with local approval.

Discouraging Unsafe Modifications

The bill addresses safety by expanding liability for businesses that modify PTVs.

PTV owners sometimes have retrofitters modify their vehicles, often to increase the speed. However, modifications not approved by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) may adversely affect the safe operation and performance of PTVs.

To discourage this, the bill expands the meaning of "manufacturer" - and the liability it carries - to include any person who does business in the state of Georgia and makes modifications to a PTV that are not approved by the OEM.

"This means retrofitters can now be held liable for making changes that do not conform to OEM specifications," Dufour notes.