Youth Protection Ordinance

Golf Cart Ordinance




(A) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to protect juveniles from victimization and exposure to criminal activity by establishing a curfew for juveniles under the age of 16 years in the town. This section is intended to reinforce and promote the role of the parent in raising and guiding children, and promote the health, safety, and welfare of both juveniles and adults by creating an environment offering better protection and security for all concerned.


(B) Definitions. For the purpose of this section, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings:

DIRECT ROUTE. The shortest reasonable path of travel or a commonly used route to reach a final destination without any detour or stop along the way.

EMERGENCY. An unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action. The term includes, but is not limited to, a fire, a natural disaster, and automobile accident, or any situation requiring immediate action to prevent serious bodily injury or death. This term also shall include any action that is reasonably necessary in order to respond to the medical needs of a family member of the juvenile regardless of whether the juvenile's action is taken in order to prevent death or serious bodily injury.

ESTABLISHMENT. Any privately owned place of business operated for profit to which the public has access or is invited including but not limited to any place of amusement or entertainment.

GUARDIAN. A person who is court-appointed to be the guardian of a juvenile.

JUVENILE. Any person under the age of 16 years.

OWNER/OPERATOR. Any individual, firm, association, partnership or corporation, operating, managing or conducting any establishment, including the employees, members or partners of an association or partnership and the officers of a corporation.

PARENT. A person who is a natural parent, adoptive parent, foster parent or step-parent of another person, or a person to whom legal custody has been given by court order.

PUBLIC PLACE. Any place that is generally open to and used by the public or a substantial group of the public, whether it be publicly or privately owned, including but not limited to, streets, sidewalks, highways, alleys, rights of way, public vehicular areas and parking lots, transportation facilities, theaters, restaurants, shops, bowling alleys, schools and school grounds, places of business and amusement, playgrounds, parks, similar areas that are open to the public, and other common areas open to or accessible to the public.

REMAIN. To linger or stay in a public place, or to fail to leave the premises when requested to do so by a police officer, or to fail to leave the premises of an establishment when requested to do so by the owner/operator or employee of the premises.

RESTRICTED HOURS. The time of night referred to herein is based upon the prevailing standard of time, whether Eastern Standard Time or Eastern Daylight Savings Time, generally observed at that hour by the public in the town. Restricted hours shall mean: 11:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. on any day of the week.


(C) Offenses. Except as provided by division (D), the following offenses constitute a violation of this section:

(1) A juvenile commits an offense by being present in or remaining in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the town during the restricted hours.

(2) A parent or guardian of a juvenile commits an offense if he knowingly permits, or by insufficient control, allows the juvenile to remain in any public place or on the premises of any establishment within the town during the restricted hours. The term "knowingly" includes knowledge that a parent should reasonably be expected to have concerning the whereabouts of a juvenile in that parent's legal custody. This requirement is intended to hold a neglectful or careless parent up to a reasonable community standard of parental responsibility through an objective test. It shall, therefore, be no defense that a parent was completely indifferent to the activities or conduct or whereabouts of such juvenile.

(3) The owner, operator, or any employee of an establishment commits an offense if he knowingly allows a juvenile to remain upon the premises of the establishment during the restricted hours. The term "knowingly" includes knowledge that an operator or employer should reasonable be expected to have concerning the patrons of an establishment. The standard for "knowingly" shall be applied through an objective test: whether a reasonably person in the operator's or employee's position should have known that the patron was a juvenile in violation of this section.

(4) It shall be a violation of this section for any person 18 years of age or older to aid or abet a juvenile in the violation of subdivision (1) above.

(5) It shall be a violation of this section for a parent or guardian to refuse to take custody during the restricted hours of a juvenile for whom the parent or guardian is responsible.


(D) Exceptions. A juvenile who is in a public place or establishment during the restricted hours shall not be in violation of this section if the juvenile is:

(1) Accompanied by his parent or guardian;

(2) Accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older authorized by the parent or guardian** of such juvenile to take the parent or guardian's place in accompanying the juvenile for a designated period of time and purpose within a specified area;

**Note: Authorization shall be in written form and notarized. It shall state the date, time, and place the authorization is valid-separate authorization is required for each period.

(3) On an errand, using a direct route, at the direction of the juvenile's parent or guardian;

(4) In a motor vehicle with parental consent engaged in interstate travel through the town or originating or terminating in the town;

(5) Traveling in a motor vehicle with a parent or guardian, or traveling in a motor vehicle with an adult 18 years of age or older authorized by the parent or guardian of such juvenile to take the parent or guardian's place in accompanying the juvenile for a designated period of time and purpose within a specified area;

(6) Engaged in a lawful employment activity, or using a direct route to or from a place of employment;

(7)Reacting or responding to an emergency;

(8)Attending or traveling to or from, by direct route, an official school, religious, or recreational activity that is supervised by adults and sponsored by a public or private school, town or other governmental entity, a civic organization, or another similar entity that accepts responsibility for the juvenile;

(9) Exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right of assembly;

(10) Married or emancipated;

(11) When authorized, by special permit from the Chief of Police or his designee carried on the person of the juvenile thus authorized, as follows: When necessary nighttime activities of a juvenile may be inadequately provided for by other provisions of this section, then recourse may be had to the Chief of Police, or his designee, either for a regulation as provided in subdivision (12) or for a special permit as the circumstances warrant. Upon the findings of reasonable necessity for the use of a public place to the extent warranted by a written application signed by a juvenile, and by a parent of the juvenile, if feasible, stating the name, age and address of the juvenile; the name, address, and telephone number of a parent thereof; the height, weight, sex, color of eyes and hair and other physical characteristics of the juvenile; the necessity that requires the juvenile to remain upon a public place during the restricted hours otherwise applicable; the public place; and the beginning and ending of the period of time involved by date and hour, the Chief of Police or his designee may grant a permit in writing for the juvenile's use of a public place at such hours as in the opinion of the Chief of Police may reasonably be necessary and consistent with the purposes of this section.

(12) When authorized by regulation issued by the Chief of Police or his designee in other similar cases of reasonable necessity, similarly handled as set forth in subdivision (11) but adapted to reasonably necessary nighttime activities of more juveniles than can readily be dealt with on an individual special permit basis. Normally such regulation by the Chief of Police or his designee permitting use of public places should be issued sufficiently in advance to permit appropriate publicity through news media and through other agencies such as the schools, and shall define the activity, the scope of the use of the public places permitted, the period of time involved not to extend more than one hour beyond the time for termination of the activity, and the reason for finding that the regulations reasonably necessary and is consistent with the purposes of this section.


(E) Defense. It is a defense to prosecution under division (C)(3) that the owner, operator, or employee of an establishment promptly notified the police department that a juvenile was present on the premises of the establishment during the restricted hours and refused to leave.


(F) Enforcement.

(1) Before taking any enforcement action under this section, a police officer shall ask the apparent offender's age and reason for being in the public place or establishment during restricted hours.

(2) The officer shall not prepare a juvenile arrest report, issue a citation, or make an arrest under this section unless the officer reasonably believes that an offense has occurred and that, based on any response and other circumstances, not exception or defense in divisions (D) or (E) is present.


(G) Penalties.

(1) A juvenile who violates any provision of this section is subject to being adjudicated delinquent. The court may, in its discretion, impose any dispositional alternative(s) that are provided in the North Carolina Juvenile Code for any juvenile who is delinquent.

(2) Any person other than a juvenile who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $100, and imprisonment in the discretion of the court in accordance with NCGS 14-4.

(Ord. 8-8-95)





§ 70.40 GOLF CART DEFINITION. (Approved10/11/2005 Amended 06/12/2007)

Golf Carts may be operated on streets within the Town of Benson in accordance with the following rules and regulations:


(A) Golf Carts, and otherwise defined as Low Speed Vehicles, as defined by North Carolina General Statute 20-4.01(27) h, that are currently in compliance with ALL STATE LAWS related to their operation, registration, and insurance requirements, and are operated by licensed drivers will be exempt from this ordinance.


(B) Other Golf Carts and Low Speed Vehicles not in compliance with NC General Statutes that operate on a street or public vehicular area within the Town of Benson will be subject to an annual inspection by the Chief of Police, or his designee. After successfully completing the inspection process, the operator may receive a Town of Benson Golf Cart Permit/Sticker, which must be applied to the Golf Cart by the Chief of Police, or his designee, to insure that the Permit/Sticker is applied in the most conspicuous location on the Golf Cart.



(A) The inspection by the Chief of Police, or his designee, will cover the following safety requirements, and every Golf Cart operating on Town of Benson streets must have the following safety equipment:

(1) Permits/Stickers will be issued to operators of electric or gas golf carts only. (Revised 06/12/07)

(2) Each owner must have proof of ownership, and a completed Waiver of Liability, releasing the Town of Benson, its employees, and affiliates from all liability that may arise as a result of operating a Golf Cart inside the Town of Benson. A current Waiver of Liability must be on file with the Town of Benson, and must be renewed annually. (Revised 6/12/2007)

(3) All Golf Carts must meet the requirements or minimum standard of safety equipment, to wit: Rear View Mirror, Lap Belts and Child Restraints for use while the vehicle is in motion, and a Reflective "Slow Moving Vehicle" Sign Affixed on the Rear of the Golf Cart.

(4) All Golf Cart operators must possess a valid Driver's License, except any driver or operator 18 years of age and older with a medical or physical condition that prevents that individual from being able to obtain a valid North Carolina drivers license. The medical condition must be evidenced with a professional certified medical phobia that prevents the driver or operator from taking a drivers licensing exam. The medical professional must document that the operator does not possess a medical condition that would prevent the safe operation of a motor vehicle and this documentation must be updated annually. Any driver or operator that is exempt from the requirement of a valid North Carolina license must still present and have on record and while operating a golf cart, a valid North Carolina identification card.

(5) Golf Carts, by design, are equipped to seat a certain number of passengers. Each Golf Cart differs in that it may accommodate 2 to 6 passengers, generally. This section is designed to regulate overcrowding or reckless operation of a Golf Cart; therefore no passengers are permitted to stand on a golf cart while it is in operation.

(6) All operators must provide a minimum of liability insurance on any Golf Cart prior to inspection.

(7) Permits/Stickers will be issued annually, and valid from July 1st of each year. The following fees shall apply:


(a) Inspection by Police Department $35.00 Annually

(Includes Permit/Sticker)

(b) Re-Inspection by Police Department $10.00

(If a Golf Cart fails the initial inspection)


(8) Lost or Stolen Permit/Stickers are the responsibility of the owner. A Police report must be filed in the event of a Lost or Stolen Permit/Sticker. The Chief of Police will have the discretion in determining whether a Permit/Sticker may be re-issued in this instance. If no record can be found of a previous application, or the receipt of a Permit/Sticker, the Chief of Police may direct the applicant to reapply, and also resubmit any and all fees necessary, before a replacement Permit/Sticker is issued.



(A) Any person who operates a Golf Cart in the Town of Benson, and fails to receive or properly display a Town of Benson Permit/Sticker will be subject to the state law requiring registration, insurance, and any other applicable laws, in addition to being in violation of this ordinance.


(B) Golf Carts will be subject to the traffic laws of North Carolina:

(1) All operators must adhere to ALL LAWS that apply to normal vehicle operation, to wit: Stop Signs, Stop Lights, One-Way Streets, etc. All alcohol laws will also apply.

(2) Golf Carts will adhere to all traffic flow patterns, and will operate on the right side of the roadway.

(3) Golf Cart operators must yield the right of way to any overtaking vehicles.

(4) Golf Carts shall not be operated on sidewalks.

(5) Golf Carts shall not be operated on private property, without the permission and consent of the property owner.


(C) Golf Carts that are issued permits to operate under this ordinance may only be used from Sunrise to 30 minutes prior to Sunset. NO operation after 30 minutes prior to sunset is allowed.



(A) Liability Disclaimer - This ordinance is adopted to address the interests of public safety. Golf carts are not designed, or manufactured to be used on public streets, and the town in no way advocates or endorses their operation on public streets or roads. The town, by regulating such operation, is merely trying to address obvious safety issues, and adoption of this ordinance is not to be relied upon as a determination that operation on a public street or public vehicular area is safe or advisable, if done in accordance with this ordinance. All persons who operate or ride upon golf carts on public streets or public vehicular areas do so at their own risk and peril, and must be observant of, and attentive to the safety of themselves and others, including their passengers, other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The town has no liability under any theory of liability, and the town assumes no liability, for permitting golf carts to be operated on the public streets and public vehicular areas, under special legislation granted by the state's legislature. Any person who operates a golf cart is responsible for procuring liability insurance sufficient to cover the risk involved in using a golf cart on the public streets and public vehicular areas of the town.




(1) The Golf Cart Ordinance shall be added as adopted by the Board of Commissioners to Title VII, the Traffic Code of the Town of Benson Ordinances. The new chapter will be Chapter 78 - Golf Cart Requirements / Restrictions.




(1) Whosoever shall violate any provision of this code for which no other penalty is provided, shall be upon conviction, guilty of a misdemeanor, and subject to a fine not to exceed $50. Each day that any of the provisions of this code are violated shall constitute a separate offense. (See Section 70.99 Penalty - Town of Benson Code of Ordinances)