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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Amusement Park Rides Are Unsafe

Why aren’t amusement park rides regulated by the government?

Summer, touted as a time of fun, especially for children, unfortunately has its own hazards. Statistics show that injuries and fatalities of children increase during the summer months, obviously because children do not spend as much time in the more confined and supervised school environment.

Every summer we are saddened to read about accidental drownings, boating accidents, falls while climbing, burns from grills or campfires, or disastrous accidents at amusement parks. While it is certainly impossible to prevent all accidents, in many cases the negligence of another is responsible for a child’s injury or death.

If your child has been injured due to the fault of another, you should consult with an experienced, compassionate personal injury attorney to prevent other children from being similarly hurt and to receive the compensation you and your child deserve. 

Amusement Park Accidents Are Becoming More Frequent

Perhaps because amusement parks have become larger and increasingly daring in the rides they offer, we are hearing about an increasing number of horrifying accidents associated with them. This summer alone there were four serious amusement park accidents in the U.S. within a five-day period. One involved the tragic death of a 10-year-old boy thrown from a water slide in Kansas. Another resulted in severe injuries to a 3-year-old who fell off a roller coaster just outside of Pittsburgh.

Who regulates amusement park safety?

Although a study by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital reports that every year 4,000 children are rushed to emergency rooms as a result of amusement park injuries, there are no federal standards for regulating amusement parks. The lead author of the study seeks a national system of regulations to “prevent amusement ride-related injuries through better injury surveillance and more consistent enforcement of standards.”

Who’s fighting the good fight?  Who’s fighting the bad one?

Perhaps even more startling, the federal government used to regulate amusement park safety, but stopped doing so in 1981. Jim Prager, a senior executive at Six Flags at the time, as well as a board member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), helped to fight vigorously for the loophole that created more profit for the $12 billion a year industry.

In 1999, then-Congressman, now Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts began a crusade to push a bill to close the loophole so amusement parks would again be covered by one set of rules and regulations. Since then, the IAAPA has spent more than $11 million fighting against his bill, hiring a high-priced lobbying firm in Washington D.C. to protect the amusement park industry’s interests over the safety of our children.  The time is long overdue for asking the government:  How much is a child’s life worth?


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