Low-speed motorized carts, including golf carts, gators, and mules, are a common sight at TWU and are used for a variety of tasks and purposes, including maintenance, admissions tours, and simply as an easier way to cross our beautiful campuses.
A motorized cart may seem like it’s slow and harmless, but serious injuries can occur because of unsafe cart use. Every year, OSHA investigates injuries and fatalities that occur because of incidents involving a golf cart. Motorized carts moving at speeds as low as 11 miles per hour can easily eject a passenger during a turn, especially because many carts have open sides and do not come equipped with seat belts.
Most injuries that occur because of a motorized cart happen when:
- Passengers are ejected
- There is a rollover incident
- A collision occurs with another vehicle, a stationary object, or a pedestrian
- Passengers are getting into or out of a moving cart
- The driver loses control
To stay safe, drivers must understand the limitations of golf carts and other low-speed motorized carts and how they differ from motor vehicles. Do not put the motorized cart in motion until all passengers are safely seated. Stunt driving and horseplay are not permitted. Never operate a cart while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any medication or other substance that may cause fatigue or affect alertness.
Report accidents and damage to a supervisor and Risk Management as soon as possible, regardless of whether property damage or personal injury occurred.
Motorized cart operators have a responsibility to drive safely and follow all safety precautions:
- Only drive on designated paths and roadways.
- Operate the cart from the driver’s side only.
- Do not drive the motorized cart with your left foot hanging outside of the vehicle.
- Before carefully backing up, turn around and look behind the cart.
- Motorized cart drivers should always drive courteously and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
- Avoid distractions while operating a motorized cart. Be safe and attentive. Do not use handheld electronic devices or hands-free devices while operating a cart. Do not drive with an open beverage container or while wearing headphones.
When driving a motorized cart, avoid excessive speed, sudden starts or stops, and fast turns. Only tow loads if the cart is designed for towing. Drive straight up and down slopes to reduce the risk of passenger ejections or rollover.
The motorized cart operator should always slow down when:
- On a slope
- Approaching turns
- At corners or intersections
- While passing through doorways
- In bad weather or poor visibility conditions
- When pedestrians are in the area
Though operators have specific safety guidelines they must follow when driving a motorized cart, passengers also play a vital role in their own safety. There may be times when it is up to the cart operator to enforce these rules.
Everyone riding in the motorized cart must remain seated while the vehicle is in motion, or about to start moving. Keep all body parts, including hands, legs, and feet, inside the cart while it is in motion. If seatbelts are available, they should be worn. The number of passengers should never exceed the number of seats available. No one is allowed to ride while standing in the motorized cart or on the back platform of the vehicle.
When parking, never leave the keys in an unattended cart and make sure the parking brake is set. Do not park the motorized cart in a way that blocks or limits access to:
- Emergency equipment, like fire extinguishers
- Fire lanes
- Building entrances or exits
- Sidewalks or common walkways
- Accessibility options, like ramps
Motorized carts are defined as any university owned, rented, or leased vehicles that have at least three wheels and operate at a speed of 30 mph or less. This includes, but is not limited to, golf carts and utility task vehicles (such as gators or mules).
Training is required for all TWU employees and volunteers who use motorized carts per URP 04.520. Training can be found on TWU’s Bridge employee learning system. For more information on TWU’s vehicle policies, visit the Vehicle Safety Guidelines page on the Risk Management website.