Tragic Texas Rollercoaster Accident Raises Questions About Amusement Park Safety

by Carmen Dellutri on August 9, 2013

Cape Coral injury lawyerThe tragic death of a Texas mother while riding a rollercoaster at Six Flags Over Texas has reignited concerns over amusement park safety. Although the accident is still under investigation, witnesses have indicated that the woman questioned whether the restraint bar was secure.

While amusement accidents are relatively rare, they do occur. In 2011, an Iraq war veteran fell to his death from a 208-foot-tall roller coaster at a theme park outside Buffalo, New York.

Given the potential risks, many are shocked to learn that there are currently no federal regulations governing amusement park rides. While the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) oversees the safety of carnival rides transported from place to place, a loophole in the law prohibits the CPSC from overseeing the safety of rides that are permanently located at amusement parks. Oversight is left the states or the parks themselves.

In the wake of the most recent tragedy, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey has announced plans to reintroduce legislation that would require the CPSC to inspect the country's 400 "fixed site" amusement parks and collect data of the frequency and causes of accidents.

In the meantime, if your summer plans include a trip to a Florida amusement park, we urge you to keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Be aware of the safety equipment limitations. Ride manufacturers provide seat belts, lap bars, and other safety equipment to reduce the risk of injury. However, as referenced above, many safety devices used on children’s amusement rides aren’t designed to keep young children in their seats. Thus, do not rely on lap bars and seat belts to restrain children. After close observation, use common sense judgment to determine if the ride is safe for your kids. If you have any doubt, skip the ride.
  • Discuss the ride with your child before boarding. Read the warning signs, if any, out loud to your child and discuss each warning. Advise your child that while the ride may stop, he or she should not attempt to get off the ride until the ride attendant says it is safe. Explain to your child that if the ride gets scary, he or she should not attempt to get off the ride no matter what. Explain that amusement rides might seem scary, but they are safe as long as the riders stay seated, keep their hands and feet inside, and hold on tight with both hands.
  • Always obey minimum height, age, weight, and health restrictions. If your child does not meet the necessary requirements, do not attempt to sneak them on the ride. The requirements are there for a reason—safety. Ride manufacturers’ restrictions are supposed to take into account the forces exerted by the ride and the intellectual maturity required to ride safely. A child who does not meet the ride requirements may not be physically or developmentally able to stay safely seated.
  • Follow any special instructions about seating order or loading. Spinning rides sometimes require that smaller riders sit on the inside (closest to the center pole) to avoid being squished by bigger riders as the centrifugal force increases. Thus, the amusement ride attendant should position small children away from open sides for safety reasons. If you decide to ignore explicit instructions or reposition riders after the operator has seated your party, you may be endangering your children.

Source: Safety Report

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Port Charlotte accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Port Charlotte injury attorneys for a free consultation.

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