MONROE COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR IS FIRST IN FLORIDA TO BE APPROVED FOR PILOT PROGRAM FOR VIRTUAL LOW SPEED VEHICLE INSPECTIONS FOR GOLF CART CONVERSIONS
Monroe County Tax Collector, Sam Steele, has been working closely with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (“Department”) to develop a solution to help Monroe County residents with the inspection process for converting golf carts into low speed vehicles (LSV). Because of his efforts, the Department has launched a pilot program, exclusive to Monroe County, which allows the inspections to be done virtually through Microsoft Teams.
In order for a golf cart to be street legal, it must first be inspected by the Department. The Department is limited with scheduling services in Monroe County and only provides services once a month, which consists of a day trip to Marathon. “This has forced residents to spend time and money to rent a truck and trailer to tow it for over two hours and hope they won’t get turned away for not having the required documents when they get there. It is unacceptable,” Steele said.
“I have received numerous complaints from the public about this process and I cannot stand having to tell them ‘You have to contact the State. There is nothing I can do about it.’ That was one of the biggest motivators that made me determined to make a change. There is a solution for every problem and there is always an easier way to do things,” he continued. “Monroe County lacks a representation from some stage agencies and it feels like they forget we are a part of Florida.”
To schedule an appointment for a virtual inspection, the customer must call the Opa-Locka Regional Office at (786) 804-4180. All the customer needs is an email address, a smartphone or tablet, and the required documents that need to be mailed to the Department. Steele said for anyone who does not have a smartphone, tablet, or needs help with the virtual inspection, his staff will be more than happy to assist and can also provide a tablet for the customer. “Once the customer mails the documents and the $40.00 inspection fee, the Department will review the paperwork and assign an FLA decal, which is their new vehicle identification number. They will affix the decal on the LSV and then have our office perform a final review before issuing a title and registration,” he explained.
The Department noted, depending on how successful this pilot program is, that they will consider expanding the program state-wide. “Not only will this be beneficial to Monroe County,” Steele said, “but this could potentially benefit the entire State of Florida. The residents will have the convenience of doing this from home and the State will not have to spend taxpayer dollars on travel costs. It is a win-win for all involved.” Steele would also like to point out an important fact regarding insurance for an LSV. He says LSVs must be insured with a PIP and PDL policy. “When speaking with the insurance company, make sure to tell them you are insuring a low speed vehicle and not a golf cart. If you tell them it’s a golf cart, they will issue you the wrong policy and your driver license can end up being suspended.”
For more information on the pilot program, a list of the required documents, and how to schedule an appointment with the Department, please visit monroetaxcollector.com/services/LSV.