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Golf Carts May Be Out of Bounds Off the Links

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Golf carts are increasingly being seen on suburban streets as an alternative to gas-guzzling SUVs and cars, but they come with an increased safety risk. Newer carts can hit 25 mph and they often lack safety equipment.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, golf carts are being seen and used in places they were not intended to go. Daniel S. Watson of the Ohio State University writes in the July issue of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine that between 1990 and 2006, the injury rate associated with golf carts has doubled. One of the most prevalent causes of injury is ejection from the cart as it turns, and rollover-type accidents are not unheard of.

A similar study conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham seems to confirm the danger. That study suggests that about 1,000 Americans are injured on golf carts every month. The most common victims are males between 10 and 19 years old and people over 80.

While golf cart injuries are on the rise, fewer than half of the injuries actually occur on the golf course. Sports venues, national parks, and school campuses all account for a staggering number of the injuries, which can range from concussions to broken bones or worse.