Rep. Markey (D-MA): Federal Government Should Be Regulating Amusement Park Safety

Story: Chicago Tribune

After the tragic death of a 4-year old boy at Epcot’s Mission: Space attraction in Disney Monday, Congressman Edward Markey of Massachusetts has repeated his call for the National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act. To sum it up in one sentence: the US Consumer Product Safety Division should have regulatory oversight of rides and attractions at amusement parks currently under state contol.

Good intentions aside, do really need another layer of Federal bureaucrats administering amusement park safety? On the same day a voluntary recall was announced & reports of children’s motor scooters causing 10,000 emergency room visits last year and 49 deaths in the past 7 years, does anyone at the USCPSD really think they can do a better job with amusement park safety?

Why have so many small, local, mom-n-pop amusement parks gone out of business? Did they lose out to the larger theme parks or did the cost of liability insurance cause them to go under? Perhaps as a way to sell his bill, Rep. Markey should offer federally regulated amusement parks liability protection.

Did you put this in MPSIMS by accident? Sure seems like a debate to me.

I can’t see that it makes a whole lot of sense for anyone else besides the Feds to be doing the regulating, actually. First, there are the traveling carnivals, whose rides are often real rattletraps. They don’t stay in just one state, so it makes sense for them to be regulated by an entity whose jurisdiction crosses state lines.

Then there’s the Six Flagses and Busch Gardens and Kings Dominions of the world. (Which in all likelihood is what happened to your mom n’ pop amusement parks. Mom and pop just don’t have the capital to keep up every time Six Flags introduces the next generation of roller coasters.) How many states besides CA and FL have more than two or three of these sorts of places? Purely from an economies-of-scale POV, it hardly makes sense for each state to have its own regulatory body to regulate the one or two or three such amusement parks within its borders. Either they won’t spend enough money to become good at what they’re doing, or they’ll spend a disproportionate amount of money relative to the size of the industry they’re regulating; there’s no room for a happy medium here.

Check the link provided below. There are differing regulations for fixed amusement rides found in parks such as Six Flags, and the traveling rides which move from one location/state to another. Surprisingly, 6 states place no regulation on traveling rides at all. The rest invoke a pastiche of annual inspection, local inspection, inspection by a professional engineer, and so forth.

While I would support a national standard, there is no reason why local code enforcement officials could not carry out this task once they’ve been properly trained to evaluate the risk.

Link here. pdf for y’all who don’t do Adobe. :wink: