Common carrier status could affect classification of rides in California under the law

Posted Monday, December 8, 2003 10:27 AM | Contributed by Jeff

The California Supreme Court has agreed to rule on whether an amusement-park ride should be classified as a "common carrier" rather than as entertainment, which would put rides in the same classification as taxis and escalators, requiring "utmost care" rather than "reasonable care." The case comes as a result of a wrongful death suit for a 23-year old woman that died allegedly from brain hemorrhaging caused by Disneyland's Indiana Jones ride.

Read more from Time.

Monday, December 8, 2003 10:31 AM
Sounds like an idea that is way behind the times! Glad to see something may finally be done to insure the best safety possible!
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Monday, December 8, 2003 10:35 AM
Jeff's avatar What does it insure? It doesn't insure anything. That's what's so stupid and pointless about this entire case. Theme parks don't want to be in the business of killing people in the first place. This wouldn't change anything.
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Monday, December 8, 2003 10:39 AM
The only thing this will change is the way cases are judged when they get to court. It won't change the number of cases that get TO court.
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Monday, December 8, 2003 12:20 PM
I said it four months ago on the forums when the lower court decision was announced and I’ll say it again – this decision is completely idiotic. Obviously by inviting park customers on to their property parks already owe patrons a duty of care. If someone gets injured due to the actions of the park they can and should sue. Why impose higher regulations that were designed and crafted to be applied by busses, planes and taxis?

Not only are common carriers required to have a higher standard but under California law, but regulations require that common carriers must travel at “a reasonable rate of speed.” How does that apply to a roller coaster? If the California Supreme Court upholds the decision, it will only be a matter of time before an attorney argues that a theme park operator that operates a high speed roller coaster is strictly liable for injuries on the coaster regardless whether the person contributed to the injury (for example if someone got injured for doing something stupid like reaching out and injuring their hand or arm) because the theme park operated its roller coaster “in an unsafe manner.”

Even more ridiculous is the regulation that requires all common carriers to provide a sufficient number of vehicles to all passengers. Does that mean a park is violating state law if I have to wait for an hour for a roller coaster? (Magic Mountain might as well shut down now).

This is judicial activism at its worst. The law which was written in the early 1900s clearly didn’t contemplate roller coasters. Although the law doesn’t specifically exclude roller coasters and thrill rides, by using common sense and looking at the actual regulations, you can see that they were not intended for roller coasters and thrill rides. Hopefully California’s Supreme Court or Governor Arnie can see the light.

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Monday, December 8, 2003 12:35 PM
The common carrier classifiction is ridiculous. This is intended for transportation devices, not amusement devices. Classifying rollercoasters as common carriers would open an incredible bag of worms. For example, coasters might be required to accomadate wheel chairs. Increases in park prices might be regulated by the transportation authorities. I'm not familiar with California common carrier law, but I suspect that there could be many other requirements that no coaster could ever meet.

Anyway, coasters are already far safer than cabs.

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Monday, December 8, 2003 1:23 PM
This is BS, just another case where politicians (don't tell me judges don't have agendas) try to step into areas they don't understand.

Is it tragic that anyone dies? Yes it is, but is it negligence if that person died on a coaster or other amusement park ride if the ride is operating within normal parameters?

Take for example this patron. Had she died of an aneurism while driving down the road in her car (which would have close to the same G forces as on IJ) would the auto maker be liable? The fact of the matter is, she had an underlying medical condition. It is not the park's responsibility to put every visitor through a thorough medical examination before letting them on a particular attraction. Can you imagine the furor _that_ would cause???

I truly hope that the Supreme Court overturns the Apellate Courts' decision.

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Monday, December 8, 2003 2:06 PM
janfrederick's avatar Yup, like trying to make apple juice out of oranges...they should be regulated differently.
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Monday, December 8, 2003 3:07 PM
Other rules applicable to common carriers and their consequences (solely intended for humor and to show how idiotic this ruling is):

Magic Mountain must remove over shoulder restraints on Revolution
A carrier . . . . is bound to provide vehicles safe and fit for the purpose to which they are fit . . . . (Cal Civil Code 2101).

No More ERT Or Discount Tickets
A common carrier must not give preference in time, price, or otherwise to one person or another. (Cal Civil Code 2170).

But If Arnie or Bush Wants To Ride Space Mountain . . .
A common carrier must always give a preference in time, and may give a preference in price to the United States and to this State. (Cal Civil Code 2171).

A Departure Schedule For Goliath Will Be Available At The Information Booth
A common carrier must start at such time and place as he announces to the public. . . . (Cal Civil Code 2172).

Had Problems Bringing A Camera On- - Now Just Store It In Your Luggage
A common carrier must deliver every passenger’s luggage whether within the prescribed weight or not . . . . . Luggage may consist of whatever the passenger takes with him for his personal use and convenience . . . . (Cal Civil Code 2181 and 2183).

You With The Two Bicycles Get Off Of Batman . . .
No crate, cover, or other protection shall be required for any bicycle carried as luggage, but no passenger shall be entitled to carry as luggage more than one bicycle. (Cal Civil Code 2181).

Well I Guess X Will Have To Shut Down
A common carrier must provide a sufficient number of vehicles to accommodate all the passengers who can be reasonably expected to require carriage at any one time. (Cal Civil Code 2184).

How Does This Apply To Riddler’s Revenge?
A common carrier of persons must provide every passenger with a seat. (Cal Civil Code 2185)

Good God I Should Hope Not
A common carrier of persons . . . .[must not] deviate from his proper route. (Cal Civil Code 2104)

Six Flags Ride Ops Are In Trouble
A common carrier of persons . . .[must not] travel with any unreasonable delay. (Cal Civil Code 2104)

Hey Six Flags Op- Go Get me Some Water And I Don’t Want Any Lip
A carrier of persons must give to passengers all such accommodations as are usual and reasonable, and must treat them with civility and give them a reasonable degree of attention. (Cal Civil Code 2103)
*** This post was edited by mutly23 12/8/2003 6:53:18 PM ***

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Monday, December 8, 2003 3:48 PM
I needed a good laugh, thank you mutly23
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Monday, December 8, 2003 3:54 PM
Hell, if roller coasters were maintained only as well as some of the taxis I've been in in California, I'd never ride them again.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2003 10:00 PM
Well that sounds.... ~dum dum dum dum dum~

Seriously, high speeds, roughness, and tossing and turning is what makes rides fun, and that's the reason they exist. And, the last time I checked, rides in theme parks are NOT public transportation. They already have signs and audio recordings telling people with certain conditions not to ride. People should stop with the finger pointing and constant lawsuits.

next?...

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