Loophole in SC's golf cart law preventing police from issuing tickets

There's at least one traffic law in South Carolina that drivers can openly violate, without fear of getting a fine.

A loophole in the state's golf cart law is preventing police from issuing tickets to violators.

State laws spell out pretty clearly the legal limitations on golf carts. For example, the law states golf cart operators must have a valid driver's license, and the carts can cross over a busy secondary road but not drive on it.

However, the law does not state what will happen to drivers who violate those provisions.

Officials in Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach say that loophole means their officers can issue warnings but no tickets to violators of the law.

"One would expect that people wouldn't pay any attention to it then," said North Myrtle Beach resident Pat Heerey, when told of the law.

Heerey and her friend Ann Kepple often legally drive a golf cart on Ocean Boulevard to get to a beach cabana.

They weren't aware of the shortcomings of the state's golf cart law until WPDE NewsChannel 15 brought it to their attention.

"Why even bother, if they're not going to penalize somebody?" said Kepple. "People will continue to abuse the law, if there's no penalty."

Myrtle Beach police say there are ways they can still issue tickets.

For example, a golf cart driver who's under the age of 16 can be cited under other state laws requiring motor vehicle operators to have a license. Or a golf cart that's operating at night can be cited under other laws requiring headlights after dark.

But some people say the loophole in the present law helps explain why police appear to pay little attention to golf cart violators.

"I mean, I've seen cops go around kids that are driving carts and not do anything, and I know they're not 16," said Eric Bruton of North Myrtle Beach.

State Rep. Stephen Goldfinch of Georgetown says the State House passed a bill this year to fix the law and put in a penalty provision, but the bill failed to get through the Senate.