Amusement Park Safety Concerns

An injury lawyer who had just successfully completed a high-profile case involving a major amusement park told a reporter he’d never take his children on such rides. His comments sparked debates and surveys across both the legal and entertainment industries. Interestingly, most Las Vegas injury attorneys polled agreed with him, and a number of thought-provoking facts have come to light from these discussions.

No Federal Oversight Exists

Another recent survey indicated that a vast majority of adults visiting amusement parks assumed federal laws and regulations for safety existed, but there are none. Each state has its own set of standards and enforces these rules differently. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions does exist, and a core mission of the IAAPA is to gather data from around the world and share it with governing bodies as well as companies. Nevertheless, the IAAPA has little power to effect change.

Inspections Are Performed on a Per-Park Basis

The Consumer Product Safety Commission does provide oversight in the form of inspections and incident investigations for traveling carnivals, country fairs and the like. The CPSC did provide oversight for fixed-location parks until 1980 when federal lawmakers changed that. Today, many parks are responsible for their own inspections and hire nonregulated third parties to conduct them.

More Than 20 Accidents Expected Annually

A 2017 article published in USA Today indicates that 335 million people visit such attractions each year. These thrill seekers participate in about 1.6 billion rides, which means that based on injury statistics, one in 16 million can expect a serious injury. This statistic means that the industry should expect 21 or more serious amusement ride injuries each year.

Inspections Are Often Visual in Nature

Although this lack of routine, in-depth inspections is a more serious problem with parks that move from one location to another, it’s still a serious concern. In the wake of a structural failure that killed a man, an Ohio inspector said the ride was inspected but only visually. In order for the malfunction to have been predicted, it would have been necessary to use ultrasound equipment, X-rays and other techniques, which Ohio didn’t require. Consider that Nevada is only one of six states to have no oversight at all.