CPSC releases 2002 amusement ride injury report

Posted Thursday, October 3, 2002 5:11 AM | Contributed by Jim Fisher

The Consumer Product Safety Comission has released its 2002 update on amusement ride injuries. The report states that injuries are up slightly at parks and down 60% at carnivals in 2002 after increasing 43% at carnivals in 2001.

The report is not yet available from the CPSC, but is available at the Safer Parks.

Thursday, October 3, 2002 7:22 AM
Perhaps I am missing something obvious here, but why does Kathy have it available on her site if it is not available from the CPSC? How did she get a hold of it?


Thursday, October 3, 2002 9:30 AM

And the real truth behind this whole arguement comes out in the "Are Rides Safe" section near the bottom - be responsible, follow the rules, don't do anything dumb and you won't get hurt.

But that requires being responsible for your own actions and we all know that is illegal in America ...

Thursday, October 3, 2002 11:07 AM
My guess is that Kathy obtained a paper copy and is quicker about putting documents on the web than some government bureaucracy.

I haven't yet read the report, but I have to wonder what kind of data cooking they are doing to reach the conclusion that injuries are way down for mobile rides and up for fixed rides...when virtually all of the incidents I have heard of this season have involved mobile rides. But then, virtually all the incidents I have heard of this season involve mechanical failure...and for the CPSC's purposes, they count ALL injuries...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Thursday, October 3, 2002 11:11 AM
I don't know the story as to why it's posted at Safer Parks, but not at the CPSC. Must be interesting though.

The comments at Safer Parks misrepresent the reason that the hospital which had reported the most injuries was removed from the sample. As the CPSC report states this hospital withdrew from the entire NEISS injury reporting program. It no longer reports to the CPSC on injuries of any type. The hospital was not removed from the sample due to criticisms about it's impact on the sample not matter how true.

I think that the huge increase in estimated mobile (carnival) ride injuries in 2000 followed by an even larger decrease in the the estimate for 2001 shows just how poor NEISS is for estimating amusement ride injuries. I hope no one really believes that carnival rides really became that much more dangerous in 2000 or that much safer in 2001. *** This post was edited by Jim Fisher on 10/3/2002. ***

Thursday, October 3, 2002 5:10 PM
That is disterbing. The fact that these people count things like sunburn as an injury and publish it as though it were a broken leg. I really wish they could get it right for once.

"Enjoy your voyage to the sun on the wings of Apollos Chariot"

Thursday, October 3, 2002 7:08 PM


I don't think that the data is really cooked. I think that the basic problem is that the NEISS system is just not able to accurately estimate certain types of injuries. It works well for injuries with tens of thousands to millions of exposure points to possible injury such as beds or household appliances. It doesn't work well for estimating injuries where there are only a few hundred exposure points such as amusement parks or a few thousand exposure points such as carnivals. (Because they move frequently, the number of exposure points for carnivals is much greater than the number of carnivals.)

The NEISS sample is a cross section of hospitals, not a sample of amusement parks or carnivals. Combine this with a relatively small number of amusement parks and carnivals, and you get inaccurate estimates. For amusement parks it is likely to be consistantly inaccurate except when the hospital selection changes. For carnivals that move around it is likely to be unstable and inaccurate as we have seen the last two years.

I have noted an error in the "deaths" section of the report. The report states that there were 62 deaths on all amusement rides from 1987 to 2000 for an average of 4.4 deaths per year. The table just below this shows that there were 51 deaths during this time period not 62. In fact though, the table includes several deaths incorrectly listed, such as deaths to construction workers building a ride. The real total should be 45 deaths to riders during this period. This reduces the number of deaths per year from all amusement ride accidents to consumers to 3.2 deaths per year, not 4.4. The "deaths" section has removed the death that was erroneously listed last year, but not several errors in previous years.

A last note: This report has just appeared on the CPSC web site.

Thursday, October 3, 2002 7:38 PM
I wonder about the long-term side-effects of roller coasting. They certainly won't show up in statistics of immediate accidents, but if accidents like e.g. brain tissue traumatisation are relevant, as it seems they are, I wonder whether riding a roller coaster makes having a stroke later in your life more likely, for example.
Friday, October 4, 2002 8:29 AM


There is no reason to believe that there is any threat from roller coasters of "brain tissue traumatisation" or any sort of brain injury, long term or short term, to a normal, healthy individual. There is some information to suggest that people with significant preexisting conditions such as an aneurysm may have an event triggered by the stress of riding a coaster or the stress of sneezing.

Even the worst headbangers are unlikely to do any brain damage. The accelerations are simply to low. I'd be curious to know where you read or heard that riding coasters might result in a stroke later in life. I haven't seen this type of thing even from Ed Markey.


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