Are Golf Carts Street Legal? (Law per State)

by Joshua Thomas

Golf carts are powerful and versatile low-speed automobiles. They are commonly used for cruising the golf course and carrying golf clubs.

But what if you want to take your cart off the course? Well, these low-speed vehicles can transport you around conveniently at many locations.

So, are golf carts street legal in the United States of America? In some states but not others. Also, these street golf carts will be required to undergo extra-modification to fulfil the local, federal and states guidelines.

First, we'll share some of the basic requirements for a golf cart to be street legal. Second, we'll take a look at how to make these low-speed vehicles street legal.

And finally, we'll provide laws per state regarding road legal golf cart. Therefore, take the time to read through the guide until the end.

Are Golf Carts Street Legal? (Law per State)
Are Golf Carts Street Legal? (Law per State)

Golf carts are street legal in some areas. But there are certain criteria to be fulfilled so that they are street legal on public roads.

Here are some of the guidelines of the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) that a golf cart needs to meet before hitting the streets. They include:

  • Horn
  • Speedometer
  • The lighted license plate bracket
  • 17-digit vehicle identification number
  • Interior and exterior-mounted mirrors
  • Reflex reflectors on all corners of the cart
  • Minimum top speed between 20 and 25 mph
  • DOT-approved tires, windshield wiper and seat belts
  • Working brake lights, headlights and tail lights with turn signals

Note: These street-ready golf carts need to have maximum speed so that it cannot interfere with automobile traffic. The minimum speed is for the fulfilment of road safety rules.

Keep in mind that state laws tend to vary, and some do not use the term golf cart. Instead, they may use a low-speed vehicle or lsv golf carts.

There is a limited type of golf carts that are street legal in the United States of America. But you can modify and upgrade your current cart to be street legal on the public roads at any garage.

Verify the State and Local Laws

Look into the state and local laws before buying the accessories for modifying or upgrading your golf cart.

You'll be able to know if the golf carts are prohibited on the public roads or if there are sections in the community where they are permitted to operate.

Add Proper Lights

Investment in the right set of headlights, brake lights and tail lights is quite crucial. These light kits are specifically meant for making golf cart street legal.

Besides that, the horn helps to signal other vehicles while on the highway. Keep in mind that light kits are quite expensive than golf cart kits.

Add Right Sets of Mirror

Side mirrors and rearview mirror are essential components for any automobile on the public road. These mirrors will enable you to look around while driving. However, they come in different design depending on the type of your ride.

Get a Slow Moving Vehicle Sign

There are some states or locations that need a special slow-moving vehicle sign. The install of the sign on the cart tends to offer maximum protection on the public road.

Install Seatbelts

Installation of good seatbelts on the front and back of the cart is quite important. A buckled seatbelt tend to enhance safety while cruising in case of a car crash.

Install a Protected Windshield

The installation of a shatter-resistant windshield on your cart will protect you against the rock, dirt, dust and debris on the road. Hence, you will be able to stay focus and see properly while driving at high speed.

Get a Speedometer

Driving at the right speed is quite important, regardless of your location. Installation of a speedometer in the cart will enable you to drive at the right speed at all times.

Grab Insurance

Street carts need to be insured to meet all the guideline of the federal law. If the low-speed vehicle lack insurance cover then they are road-unworthy. Most insurance companies issue the cover once all the legal status has been attained.

Laws per State for Golf Carts on Public Roads

We've done a thorough research of each state regarding golf carts street legal rules and regulation. You should note that each state tends to repeat federal regulations in their statues, and some tend to remove due to redundancy.


This is among the states that prohibit golf carts on the public roads. Therefore, driving street-ready golf carts in Alabama roads is illegal.

However, some localities have made an exemption of riding the carts within the community. Hence, you can cruise your cart from one point of the community to another.


Alaska allows street legal electric golf carts on the public roads. The rules and regulation allow the carts to operate on 35 mph or less to enhance the smooth flow of traffic.


Electric golf carts can be operated on public roads in Arizona. They are expected to be driven at 35mph or less. Besides that, the driver needs to have a license.


The federal, state and county roads of Arkansas prohibit the operation of low-speed vehicles. However, these golf carts are legal on municipal roads. The good news is that the driver does not need a license.


Electric or gas golf carts are allowed to operate in California. But these carts need to adhere to the regulations and requirements set by the state. The cart should not carry more than two people and weigh about 1300 pounds.


Golf carts are allowed to move at a speed of 35 mph on the public roads. The back of the cart should have a triangular slow-moving speed sign.


Most towns allow golf carts on the local roads. But they must be driven at a speed of 25 mph or less. Besides that, they should not be driven at night, and the driver should have a valid license.


Golf carts can only be driven on private property or golf course. These low-speed automobiles are not street legal.


The automobiles can be driven on the public roads at a minimum speed of 20 mph and a maximum of 25 mph. The driver must be 14 years and above, and DMV should register the cart.

The state law allows the cart to operate from sunrise to sunset, and insurance cover is quite important.


The maximum speed required by street-legal electric carts is 35 mph. The driver should have a valid license. If the driver is underage, then he or she must be accompanied by a legal adult with a driver license.


Golf carts are not street legal in Hawaii since the 17-digit vehicle identification number cannot issue them. Hence, they do not meet federal rules and regulation.


All automobiles are required to have a valid restricted vehicle license plate and insurance cover. The club car parts should meet all the requirements before hitting public roads.


Golf carts are required to be driven on roadways that are deemed safe. But they should have a speed limit of 35 mph or less.


Golf carts are limited to towns and cities that have passed laws for authorization. Hence, drivers must have a valid driving license.


Laws of the state tend to permit golf carts to be driven on the road. They must have a slow-moving vehicle sign on the back and safety flag. Besides that, they should be driven from sunrise to sunset.


The state law permits municipalities to allow electric golf carts to be driven on the public roads. However, they are required to be driven only during the day and have a maximum limit of 30 mph.


The golf cart needs to undergo an inspection from the county sheriff. They will get stickers as a sign of approval before hitting the street. The carts should be driven during the daylight and have a speed limit of 35 mph. A slow-moving sign, driver's license and insurance are compulsory.


Golf carts are limited to specific public roads. The road is normally marked, and the cart should have a slow-moving vehicle emblem attachment at the back. Also, the driver must have a valid license for the motor vehicle.


The carts are driven at low-speed in areas around the golf course and on islands that are habitable.


Golf carts are only driven on private property and hence not street legal in the state.


Carts are roadworthy after fulfilling certain requirements. The crucial things for a golf cart to be street legal are insurance, inspection, registration and license.


The basic requirement is that the driver should be at least 16 years and must have a driving license. Besides that, the speed limit is about 30 mph from sunrise to sunset.


The local government may or may not permit golf cart operation on the public roads and highways at their jurisdiction. The owner of the golf cart may require special permit and insurance before hitting the road.


Gas golf carts are permitted in the state of Mississippi, but it is dependent on the local government regulations. The golf cart should meet all the requirements set, and the operation is limited from sunrise to sunset.


Roadworthy golf carts are not permitted in the city streets.


The local government regulations are dynamic. Some localities prohibit the operation of golf carts on the roads. However, the driver needs a valid license and insurance cover of the cart before hitting the road.


Golf carts are now allowed to cruise the city streets but are permitted to cross the highway that intersects with the street.


The electric carts are only permitted in areas with a population of 70,000 or more.

New Hampshire

Golf carts are street legal. But they are supposed to be insured, registered and operate with a driver who has a valid license.

New Jersey

Not all roads permit the usage of golf carts. The speed limit required is 25 mph or less, and the driver should have a valid license. Passengers are required to buckle the safety belts.

New Mexico

The electric carts are only allowed on local roads but not on state and federal roads.

New York

Golf carts are highly restricted in the state. Hence, you might be arrested for driving the cart on the public roads, sidewalks, or even parking lots.

North Carolina

Street legal golf carts should have a speed limit of 35 mph, and drivers should have at least 16 years. Besides that, a valid license is important. Do not drive electric carts under the influence of alcohol in the state.

North Dakota

The governing body may or may not allow operation of the golf carts in the city streets. You need to consult your local authorities before hitting the road with an electric golf cart.


People are not allowed to operate low-speed vehicles on the state and federal roads. However, drivers should have a valid motor vehicle license before hitting the road.


Driving electric golf carts in the state is only permitted by the local government. It is only allowed to areas that are in proximity to the golf field.


The drivers of the low-speed vehicles should at least be 12 years and above. Besides that, it should be driven at a low-speed on the public roads.

Rhode Island

Street golf carts are not allowed on public roads. Hence, it is quite illegal to hit the city streets of Rhode Island with an lsv golf cart.

South Carolina

It is legal to drive golf carts on the public roads but at a maximum speed of 35 mph or less during the daylight only. Besides that, you can cross the highway or streets which have a significant speed limit greater than 35 mph.

South Dakota

The automobiles need to be insured, and the driver must have a valid license. Also, the golf carts can be driven both during the daylight and nighttime.


The owner of the electric gold cart needs to register the automobile as a low-speed vehicle to the local government. Hence, it can be driven on the public road at a low speed.


The low-speed vehicles can only hit the public road after getting permission from the county or local government.


The low-speed automobile needs to have a VIN and title before getting permission to hit the road. Besides that, they need to be registered by the county or local government.


The electric carts are termed as low-speed vehicles. They are supposed to be driven at 35 mph or less on the public roads.


Golf carts are required to be driven at a speed limit of 25 mph or less. The driver needs to have a valid license and cannot be driven during certain hours of the sunset and sunrise.


Drivers need to have a license, and the golf carts should be driven in areas marked by the local government.

West Virginia

The electric golf carts need to be inspected by the county sheriff before being qualified as a low-speed vehicle. Hence, they can hit the road after qualification in specific city streets.


Golf carts are not allowed on public roads unless they qualify as low-speed vehicles. Either county or local government can do the inspection.


The gas golf cart needs to meet all the requirements before being allowed on public roads. They should have a VIN, license plate and insurance. Besides that, they should be registered as LSV.

Final Thoughts from Expert

Different states have different rules and regulation. It would be best if you compiled with the federal and state guidelines before thinking of buying a golf cart for use on public roads.

The best thing to consider is consulting either the county or local government authorities to check the set guidelines concerning street golf carts.

Some city streets do not permit street legal golf carts in different states. It could result in a prison punishment or very expensive fine.

About Joshua Thomas

Joshua Thomas just simply loves cars and willing to work on them whenever there's chance... sometimes for free.

He started CarCareTotal back in 2017 from the advices of total strangers who witnessed his amazing skills in car repairs here and there.

His goal with this creation is to help car owners better learn how to maintain and repair their cars; as such, the site would cover alot of areas: troubleshooting, product recommendations, tips & tricks.

Joshua received Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University.

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