Editorial: Amusement Ride Safety

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Since 1986 nearly 15,000 injury causing accidents involving amusement rides have occurred in the US. This includes theme parks, fairs, traveling carnivals, water parks and inflatables. Over half the injuries affected children under 12.

Unfortunately, Alabama is among only 6 states in the U.S. that have no amusement ride safety laws. No state government agency is empowered to inspect rides, investigate accidents, audit safety records, or shut down unsafe rides.

Manufacturers, ride owner/operators, and insurance carriers handle safety as they see fit. All consumer safety information is privately held.

Other states, to varying degrees, handle regulation through their departments of health and safety, agriculture and industries, labor, or even tourism. Regulation could pay for itself in Alabama through license fee requirements.

I would think some child safety minded state legislator might do well to propose a bill in the next session addressing this issue. Amusement rides should be amusing. They should also be safe.

©2010 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.