Are Golf Carts Street Legal in Texas?
Are Golf Carts Street Legal in Texas?
You may be wondering if golf carts are street-legal in Texas. The short answer is yes. However, before you decide you'll set off across town in your new golf cart, read a little further to find out what you need to know to drive your golf cart safely and legally.
Federal, state, county, and city laws have a bearing on the equipment you need, licensing, the speed you may go, and how far you can go. A homeowner's association (HOA) may also have rules about golf cart use in your neighborhood. We've collected some information to get you started.
How To Make Golf Carts Street Legal in Texas
The State of Texas requires specific equipment to make your golf cart street-legal. Kits are available online, and prices vary depending on your golf cart's make and model.
- Tail lights
- Parking brake
Our Favorite Street-Legal Electric Golf Carts
You'll love the Kruiser series of golf carts on the golf course or in the neighborhood. All three versions charge in 6.5 hours and have a digital readout that indicates speed and charge status. They have a top speed of 20 mph (golf cart) and 25 mph (LSV). Each version has an overhead cover and the features Texas requires for street use. They come in blue, black, red, silver, matte black, or white.
This two-passenger cart has two comfortable seats and a generous back carrying space. It can go an estimated 40 miles on a charge. Its wheelbase is 114 inches, and its dry weight is 1,435 pounds.
Want to carry four passengers? The Kruiser 4P has two comfortable seats facing forward and two facing backward. The 4P also goes about 40 miles on a charge. The back seats fold into a utility platform with a built-in ice chest. Its wheelbase is 120 inches and its dry weight is 1,455 pounds.
The Kruiser 6P gives you the carrying power for six people, and its 155.5-inch wheelbase gives your passengers a generous amount of legroom. Its dry weight is 1,697 pounds. Even carrying six passengers, your estimated driving range is 37 miles. Like the Kruiser 4P, the 6P has a fold-down rear cargo platform with a built-in ice chest.
Consider Federal Requirements
Federal regulations call golf carts "low-speed vehicles" (LSVs). The federal government defines an LSV as "a 4-wheeled motor vehicle, other than a truck, whose speed attainable in one mile is more than 20 mph and not more than 25 mph on a paved surface."
The federal government's standard 500 requires LSVs operated on public streets, roads, and highways to have the following equipment:
- Front and rear turn signal lamps
- Stop lamps
- Reflex reflectors
- An exterior mirror on the driver's side
- A parking brake
- A windshield
- A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
A type 1 or Type 2 seatbelt assembly
- A slow-moving vehicle emblem
- An alert sound
Make Safety Additions
You'll need to make several modifications to make a golf cart street-legal for trips of more than two miles. It must have working lights, a Vehicle Identification Number or license, mounted mirrors, and a slow-moving vehicle sign.
Check Local Laws
While complying with federal and state laws takes you a long way toward safely and legally driving a golf cart on public roads, counties, cities, and neighborhoods may have other regulations you need to consider. Check with the DPS, your local police department, and your HOA for additional information on rules for on- and off-highway vehicles.
Getting Golf Carts Registered in Texas
If you've decided to get your golf cart registered in Texas, you can fill out a form online to apply. You may need a license for specific uses.
- In a master-planned community
- On a public or private beach open to such traffic
- On a highway with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less during the day and only within two miles of where you usually keep it
- To cross intersections
Have Your Golf Cart Inspected
Texas does not require inspections to make your golf cart street-legal. However, having a professional check your golf cart regularly can keep your golf cart moving and keep you and your passengers safe.
You can also do your part. Before you set off, visually check for noises, fluid leaks, and the water level in the batteries in electric vehicles.
Register With the DMV
Texas does not require that your golf cart be titled or registered. However, when driving on roads within a city, unincorporated area, or county, you may be required to have a golf cart license plate. Restrictions are fewer for off-highway vehicles.
Apply for Insurance
While Texas does not require golf cart insurance, your HOA or city might. Even if your HOA does not require insurance, it is a good idea to have it. Insurance protects your golf cart from damage, and it also protects you from liability for any damage your golf cart causes. Insurers may or may not offer a golf cart policy. Check with your insurance company to be sure.
Are Electric Golf Carts Good Street Vehicles?
If your golf cart has an automatic transmission, it will work well on the street. According to Texas state law, a golf cart with a golf cart license plate can operate on roads under certain conditions. Check with your city or HOA; they may have their own set of rules.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may still have some questions about golf cart use in Texas. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about golf carts.
Are golf carts the same as LSVs and NEVs?
A low-speed vehicle (LSV) is the term used to refer to golf carts and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs). Golf carts are designed primarily for the golf course but can travel on roads under certain circumstances. An NEV has fewer restrictions as to where and how far it can go. Equipment requirements are greater, and these vehicles must have a valid 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
Can any golf cart be made street-legal in Texas?
Most golf carts can be made street-legal but have restrictions on where they can go. They must have a golf cart license plate to travel on the roads. If your golf cart is not equipped for street use, you can purchase kits online to add the missing items.
Do I need a driver's license to own a golf cart?
You do not need a valid driver's license to own a golf cart, but you do need a valid driver's license to drive a golf cart on public roads.
Texas does allow golf carts to travel on roadways under certain circumstances, but remember that your HOA, city, or county may have additional regulations about where, when, and how fast you can drive your golf cart on the road. You will also need specific equipment to make your golf cart street-legal, so check with local authorities and then have fun with your new wheels!