How Safe Are Amusement Park Rides? Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Discusses

amusement park ferris wheel
July 17, 2017
Legally Reviewed By Attorney Rand Spear, Esq.

When the weather heats up, millions of Americans around the country head to amusement parks, water parks, and fairs. Many people enjoy roller coasters and similar rides because they get adrenaline pumping within the confines of safety. But just how safe are they? Is the illusion of safety just that — an illusion? Philadelphia personal injury lawyer Rand Spear says these rides aren’t as safe as you might think.

According to an amusement park consultant who spoke to USA Today, amusement park ride accidents aren’t a matter of “if” but “when.” In other words, accidents will happen. Tragically, many catastrophic accidents already have.

Surprising Stats About Amusement Park Ride Injuries

A Six Flags amusement park made headlines when a 14-year-old girl dangled 25 feet above the ground. Bystanders on the ground urged her to let go of the ride she was clinging to. Fortunately, other park patrons on the ground caught her. The girl was uninjured, and one man on the ground was treated for minor back injuries.

However, others have not been so fortunate. In 2016, a 10-year-old boy was killed while riding a giant waterslide at a waterpark in Kansas. In 2013, a woman was killed when she was ejected from her seat while riding a roller coaster at a Six Flags in Texas. She fell seven stories to her death.

There Is No Federal Oversight of Amusement Parks

Here’s what most Americans don’t know: Roller coasters and amusement park rides in the United States are subject to minimal federal oversight. According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), amusement park rides are regulated at the state level. With 50 states and 50 sets of rules, regulations can vary widely.

USA Today reports that about 335 million people visit amusement parks each year. These thrill seekers ride about 1.6 billion rides every year. The IAAPA says the risk of serious injury is 1 in 16 million.

When it comes to county fairs and traveling carnivals, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) conducts oversight and injury investigation. However, the CPSC doesn’t carry out inspections. This wasn’t always the case, however. Up until the 1980s, the CPSC used to inspect both traveling carnivals and fairs and fixed location parks. However, federal lawmakers changed the rules in the 80s by removing fixed location parks from CPSC oversight.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Gives Tips for Amusement Park Safety

Philadelphia personal injury lawyer Rand Spear states, “Amusement parks bring out the kid in all of us. However, it’s important to visit them with safety in mind. If you’re headed to a park or fair, make sure you feel comfortable with the park employees operating the ride. If at any point you feel unsafe or not properly secured in your seat, speak up or demand to be let off the ride.”

Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Amusement park rides are by and large safe, but they are not inspected or regulated by the federal government. If you’re injured on a ride at an amusement park, fair, or carnival, you need an experienced lawyer who can help you identify the parties responsible for your injuries. Discuss your options and the next steps in your case with Philadelphia and New Jersey personal injury lawyer Rand Spear today at 888-373-4LAW.