Galveston officials meet to discuss possible changes to golf cart ordinance after deadly crash

Thursday, August 11, 2022
Galveston city council holds meeting since deadly golf cart crash
The Galveston city council held a discussion to possibly change the rules surrounding golf carts after a crash killed 4 people.

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Galveston officials met Thursday morning to discuss possible changes to its golf cart ordinance after a deadly crash involving a suspected drunk driver last weekend.

While the meeting was already planned, the focus on possibly adjusting the ordinance came after four people were killed in a car crash involving a golf cart and truck in Galveston over the weekend.

What is happening is a council workshop. They did not vote on anything on Thursday, but, instead, they talked about the possibility of updating the city's golf cart ordinance.

So far, some discussion has revolved around banning golf carts entirely and possibly banning people from driving them at night.

"I'm not sure if any of the regulations that were talking about couldn't control that," Galveston Mayor Craig Brown explained. "I would say this though, the accident happened at 11 p.m. There were a number of young children on that golf cart."

They are talking about state laws that are already in place regarding golf carts and similar vehicles and discussing what kind of restrictions would be able to be enforced.

During the workshop, ABC13 learned that since last summer, there have been 32 accidents involving golf carts. In 12 of those, someone was hurt.

But it's not just golf carts that council members are looking at. We're told they plan to review all modes of transportation, including bikes and scooters, as well as taking a hard look at drinking and driving.

"That is coming forward with council," Brown said. "That's already been discussed with staff, and they're already working with police on that."

During a press conference earlier this week, Brown said golf carts have become a prolific way of transportation for those who live on or are visiting the island. While he said ordinances were passed about six months ago, Brown said the city council would discuss additional safety measures to ensure the community stays safe.

Councilmember Marie Robb was vocal in bringing changes last year. Following this tragedy, she's determined to bring change.

"It was inevitable," Robb said. "It's just very sad to me that it takes a tragedy to get action."

The family killed Saturday wasn't hit on the Seawall, but Robb believes they were there prior to the crash. She said she wants to ban golf carts from the Seawall.

Robb also said she wants to look at banning driving golf carts at night and holding companies at fault if renters break the rules.

ABC13 spoke to the owner of a golf cart rental company on the island. He said he is all for safety, saying, of course, what happened is just tragic. He said he would be in favor of some changes to the golf cart ordinance but is concerned about complete bans or a change to make the ordinance really restrictive.

"I understand why they are looking at it. I just hope they don't do a knee-jerk reaction is my concern and overreact to this because it wasn't the golf cart that caused this," Brett Von Blon, owner of Carriage Haus Rentals, said.

Depending on what comes out of the workshop will determine what, if anything, is going to be added to an upcoming council meeting. The next one is scheduled for Aug. 25, but a vote may not take place until September.