Legal Use Of Golf Car(t)/ Utility Vehicles To Begin January 1, 2012

Archived in the category: Announcements, General Info
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 15 Dec 11 - 0 Comments

ATTENTION GOLF CAR(T) ENTHUSISTS: January 1st, 2012 not only ushers in a New Year, but it is the first day golf car(t)s or utility vehicles can be legally be driven on streets of the unincorporated areas of Calhoun County. The change allows the vehicles to be operated on certain streets of Port O’Connor, Magnolia Beach and Alamo Beach, to name a few.

After years of complications, misinformation and misunderstandings, the amendment to Texas Transportation code, Sec. 551-403, allowing these vehicles on streets of the unincorporated areas of Calhoun County will go into effect on Sunday, January 1st. Getting the law changed wasn’t easy. The changes are the result of a huge effort , hundreds of hours of legal research and negotiations by several key figures. A team of dedicated elected officials, law-enforcement leaders , local citizens, and visitors has worked tirelessly to ensure everyone could legally and safely enjoy the vehicles. State Representative Todd Hunter, his assistant Caleb Magee, Chief Deputy Mark Daigle and Commissioner Pct. 4, Kenny Finster all played a key role getting the law changed. The Calhoun County Golf Car(t) Association , Calhoun County Commissioner’s Court and Assistant District Attorney Shannon Salyer played an important role in the process as well.

What type of vehicles can be driven under the new law? A GOLF CAR(T) and UTILITY VEHICLES. The change in the law DOES NOT ALLOW ALL TERRAIN or SPORTS MODE TERRAIN vehicles to be operated on public roadways. The Texas Transportation code (sec. 502.001) defines a GOLF CAR(T) as : A motor vehicle designed by the manufacturer for transporting persons on a golf course. Section 551.401 defines a UTILITY VEHICLE as a motor vehicle that is not a golf car(t) or lawn mower and is A. equipped with side by side seating for the use of the operator and a passenger; B. designed to propel itself with a least four tires in contact with the ground; C. designed by the manufacturer for off-highway use only; and D. designed by the manufacturer primarily for utility work and not for recreational purposes.

An ALL TERRAIN VEHICLE is defined by the Transportation code section 502.001 as 1. a motor vehicle that is: A. equipped with a saddle, bench or bucket seats for the use of the rider and a passenger, if the motor vehicle is designed by the manufacturer to transport a passenger. B. designed to propel itself with three or more tires in contact with the ground; C. designed by the manufacturer for off-highway use; and D. not designed by the manufacturer primarily for farming or lawn care. Again, ALL TERRAIN and SPORTS MODE VEHICLES are NOT ALLOWED to be operated on a public roadway. If a person operates an all terrain or sports mode vehicle on a public roadway he or she can be charged with “operate an unauthorized motor vehicle on a public road way.” The maximum fine for the offense is $303.10.

A resolution adopting the changes to the law was adopted by the Calhoun County Commissioners Court on the 23rd day of June, 2011. Golf car(t)/ utility vehicles may be driven in the unincorporated areas of the county; and has a posted speed limit of not more than 35 miles per hour. A golf car(t) / utility vehicle under this section must have HEADLAMPS, TAILLAMPS, REFLECTORS, PARKING BRAKES, and MIRRORS. The vehicles may be operated by LICENSED DRIVERS only. This means NO CHILDREN or any other unlicensed driver may drive the vehicles. The vehicles may be operated during DAYLIGHT HOURS ONLY. A driver may not operate the vehicle while intoxicated, or with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.

Please remember operating a GOLF CAR(T) or UTILITY VEHICLE on designated streets in certain areas of Calhoun County is a great responsibility. Please practice safe operation and be courteous to other traffic. These are small vehicles and not all larger vehicles will see them. Be thoughtful in transporting small children as well. The goal of county, state law enforcement, and local elected officials is to ensure residents and visitors have a safe environment in which to live work and play.

Have a safe, happy and prosperous New Year !

Nancy Pomykal
Justice of the Peace, Pct. 5,
Calhoun County

Note: To anyone with questions concerning their vehicle, you may contact Calhoun County Chief Deputy Mark Daigle with your questions or concerns at 361-553-4646.

Example of Golf Cart Allowed

Example of Utility Vehicle Allowed

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