Changes to Texas Law Allows for Golf Carts and Most Off-Highway Vehicles to be Operated on Public Roads

By: Montgomery County Sheriff's Office
| Published 04/12/2021

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THE WOODLANDS, TX - Recent changes in Texas law now allow golf carts and most off-highway vehicles to be operated on public roadways. However, their operation is restricted to certain conditions, and there are certain stipulations that have to be met in order to legally do so. For the purposes of this advisory, an “off-highway vehicle” includes ATVs, ROVs, UTV‘s, and sand rails. The following are the conditions were golf carts and off-highway vehicles may be operated, and their requirements.

CONDITIONS
A person may operate a golf cart or off-highway vehicle in:
• A county or municipality approved master plan community containing a set of HOA/POA rules or restrictive covenant‘s; or
• A public or private beach approved for vehicle or travel; or
• A roadway for which the posted speed limit is not more than 35 mph, and the vehicle is operated during daytime hours in an area not more than 2 miles from the location where the vehicle is usually parked and used for transportation to and from a golf course.

REQUIREMENTS
• Golf carts and off-highway vehicles must display the appropriate license plate to legally operate on the roadway. The fee for the plate is $10, and the plate does not expire.
• Golf carts and off highway vehicles traveling at the speed of not more than 25 mph are also required to display slow moving vehicle emblem.
• All traffic laws pertaining to the movement and operation of regular motor vehicles apply, and must be obeyed while operating a golf cart or off-highway vehicle in a public roadway.
• The Texas Attorney General’s office has stated (No. KP-0364) that the requirement to possess a valid driver’s license to operate a vehicle on a public roadway applies to the operation of golf carts and off-highway vehicles while on a public road. Yes, an operator of a golf cart or off-highway vehicle must possess a valid driver’s license (or learners permit with adult present) to drive on a public roadway.

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