PASO ROBLES — The California Highway Patrol reported a vehicle collision between a pickup truck and a golf cart at Heritage Ranch at approximately 5:06 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15. According to a report issued by the CHP, Jacob Walz made an “unsafe turning movement” in a 2018 Chevy Silverado and crossed into the opposite while attempting to turn onto Heritage Boat Launch Road.
The truck collided into the left side of a Yamaha golf cart driven by 33-year-old Breanna Roinstad. Kati Gradoville was riding in the passenger seat. Also in the cart were five children ranging in ages from 3 to 11-years old. According to the report, the juveniles were ejected from the cart and sustained minor to major injuries. Officer Patrick Seebert said two minors were airlifted to a Fresno hospital for treatment.
Officers arrested Roinstad at the scene for suspicion of DUI. CHP officials said that since Heritage Ranch is private property, the California vehicle code does not apply, and people are allowed to drive golf carts without safety restraints.
“The only vehicle code sections that apply on private property are DUI and injury collisions,” said Officer Patrick Seebart. “That’s the only time that we can go up there and enforce anything.”
Seebart said that activities such as riding in the back of a towed boat or driving a vehicle without using seatbelts on private property are not illegal, but they are not recommended either.
According to Seebart, the CHP responds to numerous accidents involving DUIs from people returning from the lake on Nacimiento Lake Drive. CHP would like to remind people that driving under the influence is not restricted to alcohol but extends to any type of impaired driving caused illegal drugs or legal drugs such as prescription medication or cannabis.
“I think back to before I came on this job, I thought there were only DUIs like Friday night and Saturday night, and that was it, and now you just realize it’s 24/7,” Seebart said. “We get people who we arrest at nine in the morning, and they’re DUI. That was my big shocker that it’s just not Friday and Saturday night.”
Letter from CHP about golf cart usage
Good afternoon San Luis Obispo County,
Recently, the Heritage Ranch community experienced a traffic collision involving a pickup versus a golf cart in which three un restrained children were ejected and injured. Although the driver of the golf cart was not found to be at fault in the collision, she was determined to have been driving the golf cart under the influence of alcohol and was arrested for DUI.
We know this collision occurred on private property, and the California Vehicle Code only applies on private property in certain situations to include reckless driving and driving under the influence, however, we thought it would be good to provide a few reminders when it comes to the legal operation of golf carts on public roadways.
A golf cart is a motor vehicle as defined in the California Vehicle Code (345-345.(a) CVC). It is designed to carry not more than two persons, including the driver. Because a golf cart does meet the definition of a motor vehicle, it is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the influence of any combination of these, to operate a golf cart. You can be arrested for DUI while operating a golf cart.
There are several dealerships who advertise that they sell street legal golf carts, when there are only two manufacturers that sell those at present time. Columbia PARCAR and Gems produce newly designed golf cart type vehicles that are “street legal”. These are referred to as “low speed vehicles” by California DMV and they are also called NEV’s (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles). NEV’s are equipped with seatbelt assemblies as required by law. Standard golf carts as manufactured by EZGO, Club Car, Yamaha, as well as Columbia PARCAR are not certified to be street legal. Also, four-wheel type of off road recreational vehicles are not legal to be used on public streets.
If you do own a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle you may drive it on any street posted with a speed limit of 35 MPH or less and you are subject to the California Vehicle Code. A standard golf cart can only be driven on municipal streets for the explicit purpose of moving it from its place of storage to a golf course. The maximum distance is 1 mile or less and only on streets posted 25 MPH or less. You may not use it on municipal streets for general transportation purposes.
No matter what type of vehicle we are driving, or type of roadway we are driving on, safety matters! Do not drive distracted and do not drive impaired. Always wear your seatbelt, and never drive faster than the speed limit, the conditions, or your ability allows. Your life or the life of your loved ones may depend on it.
Please don’t hesitate to stop by or call the Templeton CHP Office if you desire additional information regarding the legal operation of golf carts.