Over the past couple of months, the police chiefs in both Elizabethtown and Bladenboro have had to focus on the growing problem of golf carts being used on public roads — some by underage drivers and many that are unregistered.
Our guess is that the other communities within the boundaries of Bladen County are also seeing an increase in golf cart traffic — especially in the more rural areas.
State law covers the use of golf carts much as it does other vehicles on public roads, and the penalties for violations involving golf carts mirror those — everything from fines to loss of license, even for those who are under the age of 16.
We see no problems with the laws or penalties currently in place, and agree with local police chiefs who say education and enforcement is a key to curbing the illegal use of golf carts on public roads.
But we also don’t think education and enforcement — or the penalties imposed by state law — go far enough.
At one point in our society, parents were responsible for their children’s actions as minors and children knew that should they break the law, the consequences would come from both the judicial system and their parents.
And in some cases, parents were liable to be charged for something their child did.
In our mind, society has gotten light years away from holding parents responsible, which has led to many parents teaching their children nothing when it comes to respect for others and the law.
In the big picture of things, illegally driving an unregistered or unlicensed golf cart on public streets — or even an underage youth driving a golf cart — isn’t the thing crime sprees are made of. However, teaching them the law can be bent in certain situations, or that it only applies if you get caught, is exactly the thing that leads to contempt for the law and its enforcers. If parents are going to show — and they already have — that they will let their children break the law (who else is paying for the tricked-out golf carts with gas-powered engines that are racing each other in town?) holding parents liable for something as simple as keeping their children within the law and/or out from behind the wheel of a golf cart should be paramount.
Any parent who knows they would be hit with a sizable fine when their underage child is caught driving the family golf cart will probably spend more time talking with their youngster and keeping them away from the cart.
As it is, there are little or no restrictions coming from the home, and we think this falls squarely on the shoulders of parents. The consequences should be theirs to take.
We have and will be publishing some of the concerns local police have where the illegal use of golf carts are concerned. But what people should understand first and foremost is that Bladen County isn’t a beach community, so taking it for granted that golf carts can be used anywhere by anyone is naive.
That said, we hope local law enforcement can make headway with the increasing golf cart problems, keeping youngsters and adults alike safe.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“The sign of truly great parenting is not only the child’s behavior. The bigger sign of truly great parenting is the parents’ behavior.” (Unknown)