Columbus, OH — Golf cart users, be “FORE!”-warned: The zippy means of transportation – no longer limited to golf courses – carries “considerable risk of injury and morbidity” to drivers and passengers of all ages, especially kids and older adults, say researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The researchers reviewed 2007-2017 data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Findings show that an estimated 156,040 people received emergency room treatment for golf cart-related injuries, and the annual total number and rate of such injuries remained relatively unchanged over the course of the study period.
The average rate of traumatic brain injuries among kids who sustained golf cart-related injuries was 1.6 per 100,000 – more than three times the rate incurred by adults (0.5 per 100,000) and around 46% greater than that of older adults (1.1 per 100,000). The overall injury rate among older adults climbed to nearly 8.1 per 100,000 in 2017 from approximately 4.8 per 100,000 in 2007 – a 67.6% increase.
Golf carts traditionally lack safety features such as safety belts, doors, mirrors and lights. Citing previous studies, the researchers note that golf cart-related injuries can range from lacerations and strains to fractures and traumatic brain injuries. Some injuries have even been fatal.
“Despite the high rate of injuries,” the researchers write, “there have been no meaningful changes in golf cart design or legislation to reduce the overall burden of these injuries.”
The study was published online Nov. 16 in the Journal of Safety Research.