Street Legal Golf Carts in the USA: A Brief Guide

Are Golf Carts Street Legal in the USA?

Golf carts are becoming increasingly popular for transportation beyond the golf course, whether it’s for the convenience, eco-friendliness or simply the fun times! However, just like cars, golf carts may also be subject to regulations and requirements to be considered street legal. Legal requirements can vary significantly depending on state and local regulations.

As a result, it’s important not only to become familiar with common safety features, but also specific regulations that apply to your local area where you will be having fun with your new toy!

Safety Features

To be street legal, there are typically several safety features that need to be installed on golf carts. These features may include headlights, taillights, brake lights, signals, mirrors, and a windshield. Some states may also require seat belts for all passengers. Such systems ensure that drivers can see, be seen and signal to other drivers, enhance overall passenger safety on the road and help avoiding accidents.

Speed Limiters and Use On Roads

To be considered street legal, golf carts may need their maximum speed limited, which can again vary depending on local regulations – typically between 20-25 miles per hour.  This is also done to ensure the safety of the passengers and other drivers on the road. Golf carts are typically only allowed on roads with speed limits below a certain threshold (e.g., 35 mph or less). They may not be permitted on highways or roads with higher speed limits.


A functioning horn is an essential feature of street legal golf carts. Just like in cars, it can alert others of the vehicle’s presence, and be crucial in situations where an accident may be avoided.

License Plate, Insurance and Age Restrictions

Depending on the state, golf carts may require registration with the DMV and to display a valid license plate.  Also, liability insurance may be required.  A valid driver’s license is mandatory to operate a golf cart on public roads in certain municipalities, while others may only have age restrictions for drivers. Check with your state’s DMV or your local golf cart dealer!

Brakes and Steering

Golf carts must have functioning brakes and steering systems to meet safety standards. Most road ready golf carts will be equipped with appropriate brakes from the factory.

State-Specific Regulations

Be aware that specific regulations can vary from state to state and even one municipality to another. In some areas, golf carts may even need to pass safety inspections to be deemed street legal. Always check with your local DMV, law enforcement agency or your local golf cart dealer to understand the exact requirements in your area.

Environmental Considerations

Some areas may have regulations related to emissions and environmental impact, especially if the golf cart is modified with non-standard equipment. It’s necessary to check with your DMV or local authorities.


Ignoring street legality requirements for golf carts could lead to fines or legal issues. It’s crucial to research and comply with the specific regulations in your state and local jurisdiction. Always check with your local DMV or law enforcement agency for the most up-to-date and accurate information on making your golf cart street legal in your area. Click here to contact your local authorized Royal EV dealer and book a test drive today!

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