Bill requires golf cart drivers to be 16, have license; PTC impact uncertain

McIntosh High School students enjoy one of Peachtree City's ubiquitous golf carts in an undated file photo.

A new law passed by the Georgia Legislature would require citizens to have a driver’s license in order to drive a golf cart.

That would put the kibosh on 15-year-olds being able to drive golf carts in Peachtree City. It would have ramifications for older citizens who can no longer obtain a driver’s license but enjoy the independence a golf cart provides for daily errands and recreational trips.

Senate Bill 519 has not yet become law, but without a veto from Governor Sonny Perdue by Tuesday, June 8, it will automatically become law with or without the governor’s signature.

Citizens who wish to contact the governor’s office may do so by calling 404-656-1776 or at http://www.georgia.gov/00/gov/contact_us.

Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) noted that an existing law gives Peachtree City and other local governments power to dictate the rules for golf cart operation, which is actually called a motorized cart. SB 519 did not expressly repeal that legislation.

SB 519, however, makes it clear that “operators of golf carts and landscape type vehicles must possess a valid driver’s license.”

Peachtree City Attorney Ted Meeker said the city has been “looking into the ramifications” of SB 519.

A number of senior citizens depend solely on their golf carts for transportation as they have been unable to renew their driver’s licenses, according to Janet Werner of the city’s Gathering Place senior citizen’s center.

Such people “would be completely isolated” and at the mercy of other caregivers for their transportation needs if they were unable to drive a golf cart, Werner said.

“It would be a major impact to the users of the Gathering Place,” Werner said.

Ramsey said that the bill, which passed on the final day of the legislature this year, seemed to be fine based on his initial interpretation and those of several other attorneys. But since then several other attorneys have weighed in with different viewpoints, he added.

“From a legal perspective, at the end of the day I think it still preserves our ordinance,” Ramsey said of the city’s golf cart ordinance, which allows 15-year-olds to drive with a learner’s permit and allows older residents to drive without a license.
Senate Bill 519 was also flawed because it specifically referred to the language “golf cart” even though it is not defined anywhere in Georgia law, Ramsey said.
Ramsey said SB 519 was initially brought forward by the golf cart industry which is seeking to create a new type of golf cart-type vehicle.

Language in the bill creates a distinction between a golf cart as a “low speed vehicle” and a “motorized cart” which can be up to 2,500 pounds and must have headlights and tail lamps to be operated at night; starting next year any such vehicles manufactured would also have to have a horn and side reflectors.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Golf Cart Bill

Vetoed.

borntorun
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Golf Cart Bill

Vetoed....and that's a damn shame too. Teenagers under the age of 16 with no license do not need to be driving on the cart paths without an adult. I know the PTC soccer moms are happy with Matt Ramsey stepping in and making sure Little Johnny and Susie can continue to wreak havoc on the cart paths. But this is a a safety issue. Unfortunately, Ramsey as usual puts politics and vote getting ahead of the citizen's safety. Sleep well tonight, Matt.

T Smith
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Golf cart bill

This may be a re-post because my battery died. Governor Perdue really hurt the rest of us in Georgia (I live in Cobb County)who just want to be able to drive our cart within the confines of our subdivision. From the house to the pool/lake/tennis/trails/etc. SB 519 contained a provision allowing cart usage inside neighborhoods. It stinks that he vetoed it.

ptc103
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golf cart

Residents of PTC use their golf carts to get to work, school, doctor appointment and all around town. Many do not even own cars and this is their only form of transportation. Boo hoo you have to walk to the pool and tennis court.

borntorun
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Wrong, ptc103

You can't be serious with the statement "many do not even own their own cars and this is their only form of transportation". Many?? Granted their are some who fall into this situation but to say "many" do is so beyond a stretch of the truth. I would venture that 97% of PTC residents own or lease a car. To use your statement as justification for vetoing this bill is wrong on so many levels not the least of which is the safety of citizens using the cart paths. The fact is teenagers under the age of 16 should not be allowed to drive a golf cart without an adult...just like a car. And the part of the ordinance that allows a 12 year old to drive a cart with an adult is utterly ridiculous. The vast majority 12 year olds are not strong enough physically to control a cart going full speed around a corner.

Dondol
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Pony up the Money

and put in cart paths, get your city reps to make a local ordinance and your in!

AtHomeGym
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Golf Cart Bill

but, but, can you do that now? If yes, nothing will change. If no, get local ordinance enacted that allows such activity.

liverdal
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Don't need a new law

Has anyone heard what it would mean for youth under 16 driving with their parents? We are very strict about following the laws and take training our child in vehicle safety a top priority. We feel the time he has hands-on training in a golf cart with us as beneficial to future driving safety. There are those who drive carts unsafely, but it is not just a youthful offender problem. What about the parent holding their infant while driving a cart?! I am sorry but you can't properly control your cart while holding an infant. Or, the adult who is speeding around corners with their left leg hanging outside the cart and "forcing" oncoming traffic to go off the road to avoid coming too close to the roadhog? Set a good example and as a parent don't let your child break the rules for your convenience. That is how to make this work.

borntorun
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Under 16 Golf Cart Drivers

I'm for any bill that prohibits teenagers under 16 from driving a golf cart. Can't tell you how many times I've been almost run over by younger drivers while out walking or running on the cart paths. And parents who allow kids to drive carts illegally should be punished to the full extent of the law also. Some of these kids driving golf carts with mommy or daddy sitting by them can't be more than 10 years old.

RMEAV8R
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I agree with the bill

PTC has far too many of what I call "terrorist in training" which are over-indulged and underdisciplined. Their parents allow them to do anything they want because the parents themselves want to do what they want when they want and do not, for the most part, give a darn of what type of mischief little junior or missy reaps on the unsuspecting citizens of the city. I have live adjacent to one of the "multi-use" trails for years and cant count the amount of times I've run the little miscreants away. Way to go GA Legislature!

Spyglass
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The LICENSED drivers on carts trying to make TEE TIMES

are the biggest obstacle I see on the paths daily. Well, they are more than likely licensed. :)

This law stinks...and reeks of legislators voting on something they are CLUELESS about.

M47
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Nothing will change

Do you really think it will make any difference if this law passes? Drive through Highgrove or Wood Creek any day and see who is operating the golf carts. State law already prevails there. Those drivers must be 16 years old with a valid driver's license to operate golf carts anywhere outside of Peachtree City yet half the drivers are young children.
It's no different within the city limits of Peachtree City. Parents turn a blind eye and let their children take their golf carts anywhere no matter what age they are. My children know not to ask if they can drive our golf cart alone or outside the city limits even though their friend's parents allow it. It's okay to say "no" to your children.
I understand the complaints about the proposed law. The people opposing the law focused on seniors. What about the large hispanic population that uses golf carts? Many of them cannot get US driver's licenses. (A completely different topic for another time.)
I say that all motorized vehicles operated on a public street or public path should require a valid driver's license. No more confusion or "what if" or "I didn't know."

pumpkin
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YOU GOT THAT RIGHT

Hilarious, i would feel somewhat better if it were 15 year olds driving but you have 10, and younger even,tooling around at top speeds. Go to Target, sit and observe. Pllllllllleeeeeeaaaaaaaaassseeeeeee, dear lord what will the childrens parents do now? It's funny, M47 is right this is a joke, mamma and dada will never take these keys away. Want to know something even funnier; go to any of the numerous apartment complexes and you will see kids barely able to touch the pedals without sliding or laying in the seat driving these dangerous vehicles at high speed. Just forget it, it will never be enforced.

SPQR
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save the children

Puleeze. This is just another piece of special interest legislation couched in the same old tired mantra" its about the children".

Hisgirl
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Honestly...

I think I have to agree with the comment about the older driver. If a senior citizen is deemed unable to make appropriate judgments behind the wheel of a car, why should they be able to be driving a golf cart which is very much able to be involved in a serious accident?
Children walking through the Kroger parking lot, or skipping along a cart path are all vulnerable to a cart being driven by someone whom the DMV has said should NOT behind the wheel of a car.

A study was published in the Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection and Critical care and found approx. 1000 golf carts injuries occurred per MONTH, on and off the golf course.
The highest injury rate was in teen-aged boys and senior men older than 80.
Fractures and head-trauma were the most common injuries.

And try googling 'Fatal Golf Cart Accidents'. It's surprising how often a fatality results from golf cart accidents.

I'm aware the 15-year olds love driving the carts, but having lived here 14 years, I think I would vote 'no' if given a chance. Too often I have seen a cart full of young kids careening around a curve on two wheels. The kids tend to roll the carts too...an event that causes screams of laughter and a cracked roof.

Sure,this law may cause inconvenience, but it sounds to me it is putting safety first over convenience.

mbest
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Not meaning to be mean to the elderly but...

If they've had their driver's license taken away from them I'm not sure I want them coming up behind me on the golf cart path.

normal
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Dumb government again

Why is it when you have a good thing going the government always screws it up. Just damn them

Cyclist
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PTC Golf Carts and the LAW (if signed)

From a legal perspective, at the end of the day I think it still preserves our ordinance,” Ramsey said of the city’s golf cart ordinance, which allows 15-year-olds to drive with a learner’s permit and allows older residents to drive without a license.

SB 512 addresses changes to Georgia Vehicle Code Section 40-6-330 pertaining to carts. So how can the city prevail over state law if the city has adopted all vehicle statues under section 40-6? It seems that PTC police will be busy writing citations.

Mike King
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Golf Carts...

Ok, Peachtree City charges us $65.00 to register the darn things and now that more 'revenue' is required to justify the twenty-some additional police officers in the last two years. Its likely that Gramps, Junior, and Little Betsy are going to be cited by the new Mustang, Tahoe (complete with dog), and ATVs. Hell of a way to preserve one's job!

idk_revisited
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$65 to register a golf cart?

Since when? Last I saw, it was $12...oh wait, you have to pay $65 if YOU LIVE OUTSIDE OF PEACHTREE CITY!

Perish the thought! Someone who uses City services but doesn't contribute by paying City taxes is charged additional for the benefits!

I thought you ran for office - perhaps reading the rules and not just spouting off whatever you think without ACTUALLY knowing what's going on would make you a bit more informed.

From what I saw watching the budget workshop online, the Police went from 65 in 2007 to 68 in 2008 and 2009 to 70 in 2010. Not all of those positions are actual sworn officers, either, if you've ever GONE to the PD headquarters.

Your arguments would be better if they had actual evidence to back them up that could be verified.

Otherwise, you come off as uninformed, and that's NOT what we need to see in government - got enough of that already, thanks.

Dondol
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Twenty something new Cops in the Last 2 years?

I didn't know it was that many, But now I know why someone said the other day that we had the 2nd highest Police to Citizen ratio in the Country. You know I could see it if this was Riverdale but we're not even close. But I guess that's how Skippy justifies his new job, as long as your adding new Cops you get to keep your job. One question though, when the Obama grant money runs out who's job are we going to cut so we can keep our bloated Police force the same? (I've talked with 3-4 City Dept. heads and that's their question)

Mike King
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Dondol

Thst's correct. One of the 'promises' our previous mayor campaigned on was to reign in an out of control police department. Like many of his ilk, it was but a promise he wouln't keep. Fact is, that in 2007 PTC's police force was just fifty souls. Currently it is now at seventy-four unless His Honor has added another.

Elected officials tend to side with those among us who believe that a low crime rate is a function of more police. That is why when a traffic stop occurs on 74, traffic is blocked because not one, but two or more cruisers have at least one lane blocked. They seem to have little regard for the delays caused, and Heaven knows they would never think to ask a stopped motorist to pull onto a side street where it might be safer for all concerned.

idk_revisited
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Police Statistics - It's Not That Hard...

Wow...if it just weren't so easy to find the information....

2010 City Council Retreat, Police Department Presentation, 3rd slide contains organizational chart, available for the world to see, just like I found:

http://www.peachtree-city.org/documents/City%20Hall/2010%20Retreat%20Pre...

For those who are just too darn busy to research (but not busy enough to claim they know things), here's how your Police Department operates:

1 Chief
1 staff assistant

1 Major

1 Admin Commander
3 Staff Assistants for the Admin

2 Officers Assigned to "admin" (my guess is evidence)

1 Office of Professional Standards Commander
1 LT in Professional Standards

3 School Resource Officers (1 SGT, 2 CPLS)

6 in Criminal Investigations (detectives, 1 LT, 2 SGT, 3 CPL)

So far, that's 20 people (16 who have badges, 4 who do not)
(oops, forgot 10 part-time crossing guards, but I don't think they are a concern)

OK, now on to who's patrolling the streets:

There are five shifts (each shift is 12 hours, and from what I remember, one of the shifts is the Community Response Team for bike patrols, cart path patrols, accident investigations):

Alpha Team - 1 LT, 1 SGT, 9 officers
Bravo Team - 1 LT, 1 SGT, 8 officers (1 "open" slot, so 9 total positions)
Charlie Team - 1 LT, 1 SGT, 8 officers (1 "open" slot, so 9 total positions)
Delta Team - 1 LT, 1 SGT, 8 officers
Community Response Team - 1 SGT, 4 officers, 1 dog

I think I also saw on the local TV (jayelitv.com) that there is now a 2nd dog.

So, there are a total of 48 officers and 2 dogs patrolling your streets 24 hours a day - oh wait, there are only 11 actually doing it at any one time. If the city is 24 square miles, each patrol officer 2 square miles - that's a patch of land 2 miles long by 1 mile wide. Of course, we know that doesn't happen.

Sometimes if a person gets pulled over, maybe there are more cars there because they have found someone who is less than friendly or cooperative, or there might be other things (I think on Law and Order, they call it "needing backup"). Remember, 37,000 people live in this town, and while most are probably nice enough, people do break the law a lot (domestic violence calls, medical emergencies - yes, cops go to those too, nasty neighbor disputes, loud music from parties....should I go on?)

And if someone takes a day off or is sick, that's less people.

So now that you know the facts, do you still think we have too many people? Or is it just all still magic.

It's amazing what you can really find out if you just go online to the City website....or even go to meetings. But, hey, go ahead and keep stirring the pot with statements you can't back up.

Mike King
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idk-revisited

I guess if PTC would place an officer at each residence and on every street corner while maintaining a 24 hour watch, you'd be happiest. You have led a most sheltered life.

Prudence is not three cruisers for single traffic stops, nor is it for nap time in parking lots. Merely repeating their numbers justify nothing, but then as a city employee, that's simply what you do.

idk_revisited
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An invitation...

actually two.

1. The next time PTC 101 is offered, please sign up for it. On the first night, please tell everyone there your philosophy. Attend all the sessions, especially the police one. At the end of the sessions, repeat your philosophy.

2. Please contact the Police department headquarters, ask for the Chief's office, and request a ride-along, preferably for a time that you are seeing them with three patrol cars pulling someone over or when they are taking naps in parking lots. Please. See what they actually do.

I have not, nor will I, claim to be a City employee. You can say whatever you want (and don't have a problem doing so).

If you have a better plan, please take the time and type it up in detail - right here - and educate all of us. There's plenty of room.

Otherwise, you're just uninformed and, frankly, your opinions and assertions are quite sad.

Oh yeah, I didn't notice that you are disputing or correcting your previous assertion of an incorrect number of personnel in police, but should we expect those "facts" you quote to be accepted as is?

jevank
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idk

Thanks for doing the research. PTC Police Dept is one of the few areas for which I would gladly pay more taxes.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Incorrect in Part

We added two police slots last year and one is currently not hired and unfunded. There were 6 fireman added using a grant, which has already saved a lot of citizens money on their insurance rates. I have never voted on 20 police officers.

We are the lowest ratio in the Metro area for Class B cities with 1.9 officers per 1,000 and well below the national average of 2.4 for cities our size.

We have 70 personnel including staff.

As far as citizens and the number of police go, we are not getting complaints. In fact when we hear anything it is usually a requests for more.

Mike King
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Mayor Don

Back in 2007 when it was candidate Haddix for Post 1 there were 53 officers under Chief Murray. We conversed, as I conveyed to you that then it was too many. Your own police force personnel place you at 74 and counting. Stop spinning and cease hiring folks you know you can't pay without increasing taxes.

Do you really think the number of uniformed officers prevent anything? Open the case on the lady burned to death and let chips fall where they may.

By the way, was it you who approved the canine unit because of a $24K grant and hired a full time officer and bought him a new Tahoe? Government math at its best! My sources tell me you're looking to hire yet another, thanks a lot.

intheknow
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Mr. King

Your frequent attacks in these forums on the city and most recently PCPD, with the many inaccuracies and false information you’ve posted, makes you look like Bonkers (did he get put away, I haven’t seen any of his rants lately). Its too bad so many who read these things actually believe what you post and think you actually have knowledge of what your posting.
That’s the problem with the internet, and blogs in general, mis-information and the ability for everyone to be an “expert”, even when it’s obvious they don’t have the full story or are just way off and don’t know jack.

NUK_1
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Uh, no

The problem isn't the internet. The head-count numbers Mike King refers to with the PD are accurate. There has been a 40% increase in PD staffing in 3 years. That's a fact that cannot be "spun" away with some mealy-mouth bureaucratic BS of "we had to do it.....that's what the citizens wanted...blah blah blah" The facts are the facts.

Imker is starting to look like a needed balance to city government instead of Scrooge.

idk_revisited
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NUK, Mike King Fail to Use Verifiable Facts

So....

http://www.peachtree-city.org/documents/Finance/Audits%20%28CAFR%29/cafr...

Page 138:

Police -
FY1997 - 41 sworn, 3 civilian
FY1998 - 48 sworn, 3 civilian
FY1999 - 53 sworn, 4 civilian
FY2000 - 54 sworn, 4 civilian
FY2001 - 54 sworn, 4 civilian
FY2002 - 54 sworn, 4 civilian
FY2003 - 54 sworn, 4 civilian
FY2004 - 54 sworn, 4 civilian
FY2005 - 57 sworn, 5 civilian
FY2006 - 57 sworn, 4 civilian

http://www.peachtree-city.org/documents/Finance/Audits%20%28CAFR%29/2007...

page 142
FY2007 - 61 sworn, 4 civilian

http://www.peachtree-city.org/documents/Finance/Audits%20%28CAFR%29/fy20...
page 123
FY2008 - 64 sworn, 4 civilian

http://www.peachtree-city.org/documents/Finance/Audits%20%28CAFR%29/2009...
page 127
FY2009 - 64 sworn, 4 civilian

http://www.peachtree-city.org/documents/Finance/Budgets/2010%20budget%20...
FY2010 - 70 total (assuming the civilians stayed at 4, that's 66 sworn)

So, if you look at percentage growth over the years, from 1997 to 2010 in total personnel in police:
1997 - total 44
2010 - total 70

That growth figure is 26 personnel, or 59.1% from 1997 to 2010

If you look at it in the past six years (2004 to 2010)
2004 - total 58
2010 - total 70
12 positions, 20% growth from 2004 to 2010

So, 40%? 20 new officers in the past three years? Sorry, your math just doesn't wash.

Please, present accurate information, lest you be proven wrong.

intheknow
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Nuk_1

Nuk_1
You drinking from the same bottle as Mr. King? Maybe you just attended the same schools where you learned the same math maybe.

slickharry
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intheknow

Seriously, do you know "exactly" how many "sworn" there are and how many not sworn?
I'm seeing all kinds of numbers. Is the Chief "sworn?"

And, who does the Chief work for everyday? Everyone has to have a boss. Surely not a whole non-decisive board? Could his boss pour wine on the Chief's shoes?
How long does the Chief and Manager have to work to get a pension? Was the Chief's pension transferred here from Florida or will he get both?
Do you know these things?
Anyone know what the former Sheriff's net worth was upon retirement?

Am I not supposed to wonder?

intheknow
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Slickharry = Bonkers

Bonkers, I see they let you out and you've assumed yet another name. It's so easy to pick up on your posts as they all ramble in the same fashion. Really though, it does make me nervous knowing that in fact there are some out there like you, living among us.

slickharry
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intheknow?

You don't seem to know any of the answers! They aren't confidential are they?

I looked up bonkers as a word and it is a person who is crazy! Why would you want to say I am crazy (you said I "equaled" someone bonkers.)
Willie Nelson wrote a song called "crazy." I think he meant however that he was in love.

I have business elsewhere for a while and will be gone so I won't be "among us" to make you nervous! Boy, it doesn't take much!! Ramble, you say?

jevank
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MK
Mike King wrote:

Do you really think the number of uniformed officers prevent anything? Open the case on the lady burned to death and let chips fall where they may.

Why would you even say something like this to back your argument? First of all, Mayor Haddix nor the PTC Police Department have any authority in whether this case is reopened. Secondly, is it really in our best interest to put these people through more hell without enough evidence to proceed?

idk_revisited
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Hiring a new officer for K9?

Hmmmmm....hired a full time officer? I remember seeing the same guy here before they had the dog. A new Tahoe? Well, I guess they could have shoved him in ,the back of the Crown Vic, but where do you put the people you arrest? Oh, wait, you got rid of the officer that would need to be there to put the "offender" into his car....but that car is gone, in your world.

Dogs find drugs.
People in this area do drugs (sorry, they do, especially people who are sad that their life didn't work out, or who just want to chill from having the man hassle them all day :) ).

So....if dog finds drugs, people who do drugs and sell drugs get arrested and aren't out driving cars and potentially running into others who aren't doing drugs and killing or injuring them. If we can get more things like the incident that happened at Falcon Field and on the Parkway a while back, police get confiscated funds.

Is this a bad thing?

whitehunter
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Mike

Can you imagine how bad things would be here if Democrats were running Peachtree City?
Going around begging for more money from the state and feds! Fayette
County and the State can't even pay for the unemployment dollars without the federals! Can't pay their teachers! Can't maintain their roads! Can't do much of anything----or won't!

Boy, it would be bad if we had a bunch of free-spending democrats in there!

Do you know why? I do! Local politicians can't vote for more local taxes or they will be defeated. Can't say lay-off teachers or cops either.

DC politicians can! Then we can bitch about DC. Not Issakson and Chambliss!

Mike King
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Whitehunter,

Are you sure that Dems are not running our city currently? The term RHINO certainly comes to mind. Out of a mere $26M annually, one would think they could get things done.

As far as those two Senators, what do you expect of career politicians?

whitehunter
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Mike

Well I hardly think it possible about democrats running anything around here.
How would they get elected in a county of 80% republican voters. Most democrats and independents don't bother to waste their time voting here.

I would rather call them hypocrites rather than rhinos. For years they have lived off the borrowed money that the state and federals gave them for such things as I mentioned rather than gather up their own taxes or cut expenses.
If that isn't hypocrisy then I don't know the meaning.

Anyway the republicans vote for rhinos they may despise rather than the hated democrats.

I vote Independent. At least I can pick the best of the bunch.

Mike King
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Whitehunter

You get no argument from me. I see the term 'RHINO' being defined as hypocrite.