Golf carts a staple on beaches and in impounds during summer

They're accessible, convenient and easy to drive.

"I take mine to the grocery store, go for rides in the evening. I ride to the beach." says North Myrtle Beach resident Mary Jones.

"I don't drive my car when I don't have to," says Jack Comstock. He owns a condo in North Myrtle Beach. "We just ride the carts. You're allowed to go two miles from your condominium and living right here in OD (Ocean Drive area) where we live, a two-mile stretch will cover most anything we want to do."

But while some people take their golf carts wherever they choose, others say they're taking them places they don't want to go.

"Pretty much daily. I pick them (golf carts) up from the impound where they get towed at night," says Aces Golf Cart owner Frankie Gurano. "I try to inform people about the laws, but a lot of the times they don't listen."

South Carolina law 56-3-115 states golf carts can only be driven by a licensed driver and must stay off of primary highways including US 17, Highways 544 and 501. Certain sections of Oceans Blvd. and 27th Avenue South from Ocean Blvd. to US 17 in North Myrtle Beach are also off limits. Golf carts are only allowed to cross primary highways.

South Carolina law prohibits golf carts from driving more than two miles from the owner's residence, on the sidewalks or after dark (1/2 hour after sunset until 1/2 hour prior to sunrise).

The law mandates golf carts are subject to the same laws as an automobile on public streets such as speed limits and traffic laws.

In North Myrtle Beach, where golf cart traffic is heavy, golf carts operating in violation of the state law are subject to being towed at the owner's expense, and parents or guardians allowing unlicensed children to drive a golf cart can be fined more than $200.

North Myrtle Beach resident Linda Sawyer says she often sees underage children driving carts.

"You could tell they were not the age to have a driver's license," she says, "and they had no adult with them."

Sawyer thinks golf cart drivers just aren't aware of the laws in South Carolina. "I know they will pull you over because they have pulled us over when we didn't get home before dark even with our headlights. I just think they can't get everyone because I know police patrol is probably limited."

But even with Gurano giving each person renting a golf cart a copy of the law, he says it has yet to give him time off from his daily trips to the impound.

"Unfortunately, they still ride at night," he says. "They continue to ride on the boulevard and the places they aren't supposed to go."

Are golf carts a problem in your neighborhood?