Surfside Beach police works to educate the public on golf cart rules

Surfside Beach police works to educate the public on golf cart rules
Updated: Jul. 9, 2018 at 8:09 AM EDT
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SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Summer is here and that means more people using golf carts on the roads. While golf cart rules vary in different areas, officials want to remind you that you could face a fine in Surfside Beach for not following the rules while driving your golf cart.
Back in 2015, Surfside Beach updated its golf cart ordinance to help improve safety on the roads. This update aligned Surfside Beach with the State law on golf carts and allowed police to enforce those laws.
Chief Kenneth Hofmann with the Surfside Beach Police Department said a standard fine for a golf cart violation can add up to nearly 130 dollars. Those fines can be for things like driving under age, driving on a major highway, and driving after dark.
Chief Hofmann said since we're in peak summer season, people should understand that while police try to make sure the roads are safe, they also want to ensure safety within the whole community.

"What we have to try to remind people of is that the patrol officers have to triage what's going on in the community. So, on the Fourth of July when there's a lot of things going on, a violation of the golf cart ordinance may not be the most important thing that they have to handle at that time… And if people see a police officer at night pass a golf cart with lights driving at night … it may be that that officer is on the way to a more important call for service that's a little higher importance. Remember that especially on the Fourth of July, we have up to 40 thousand people in this two square mile town and a limited number of police officers… they're going to handle things in the order of importance," said Hofmann.

Surfside Beach Police say they're focusing on educating people on the golf cart rules in town, especially at night. Chief Hoffman said in the months of May and June, Surfside Police logged 98 golf cart stops. Noting that a majority of those were at night and 78 of those stops resulted in warnings.

The department put up a flashing sign board at Melody Lane for drivers heading into town from the Garden City area as a reminder that no golf carts are allowed on the roads at night. Golf cart rental companies in town are also asked to put proper signage on their golf carts, notifying renters of the rules. When dusk approaches, officers try to notify golf cart drivers in advance to start heading home.

Some people who live in Surfside Beach say they're happy with what police are doing to make sure everyone is informed.

"I think it's a good idea, I do. I haven't really seen a whole lot going on. I mean everyone to me has been following the rules pretty good. We've got a great police department, but I think they've been pretty good about following the rules. We've got Iike I said a tremendous police force here-- everybody's super nice and they try to watch out for us at Surfside and plus all our visitors," said Debbie Drewry, Resident of Surfside Beach.

To read more on the golf cart ordinance in Surfside Beach, follow this link.

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