HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – A Hattiesburg councilman is drafting an ordinance that if passed, would allow golf carts and other low-speed vehicles on certain public roads in the city.
Mayor Toby Barker said Senate Bill 2605, passed during the 2021 Legislative Session, allows cities and towns to pass ordinances that allow low-speed vehicles on public roads. However, until an ordinance is passed, that remains illegal. Currently, eight municipalities have passed related ordinances.
Councilman Jeffrey George argued that golf carts have the potential to enhance livability in the city. Additionally, he said they can contribute to the city’s standing as a retirement community.
“I think you’ve already seen an increase in golf cart usage around our city. What this really does is formalize a process and procedures for people to be able to do that legally. Then, it opens us up to a lot of great opportunities for people to truly see Hattiesburg as a more livable and enjoyable place to be,” said George.
Early ideas include only allowing for licensed drivers to operate golf carts on city streets. This means it will never be legal for a child to drive a golf cart. Barker said there will also be “common sense” ground rules on where the vehicles can go and where they can’t.
“Unlicensed kids on it. Not fully stopping at stop signs. It’s something that needs to be policed, I guess. I think it’s great practice for a child, but the ones I’ve seen, there’s nothing but children on them. There’s no adult at all. That probably shouldn’t be allowed,” said one Hattiesburg neighbor.
George and Engineering Project Manager Hunter White will work with the Hattiesburg Police Department to draft a proposed ordinance. Barker believes the first draft will be ready in August.