Markey introduces bill requiring adult ride ops

Posted Saturday, May 29, 2004 1:36 PM | Contributed by Jeff

US Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has introduced the Amusement Park Ride Child Labor Act of 2004 to Congress. The legislation, if passed, will require that amusement ride operators be at least 18. Some states and some companie already make it a requirement. There is no research that pins more frequent accidents on younger ride operators.

Read more from The Plain Dealer.

Saturday, May 29, 2004 1:37 PM
Jeff's avatar More pointless legislation. Why is Markey wasting Washington's time with this stuff? Even if there was some evidence that older ride ops cause fewer accidents, obviously the states can handle this just fine.

I don't get why he's so hell-bent on passing anything amusement related.

Saturday, May 29, 2004 1:53 PM
Luckily he has no ability at all to pass his big government centered legislation .

Sad that he is trying to use the deaths of people at theme parks to press his big government agenda, and im sure he and his cohorts will shake down these business's for money to keep government off there rides and attractions!!!

Saturday, May 29, 2004 2:03 PM
Was the operator of Superman not 20? This wouldn't have prevented this accident, and I wonder how many accidents attributed to operators were actually under 18?
Saturday, May 29, 2004 2:52 PM
Honestly, I don't see anything wong with this. I work at a grocery store, anyone under 18 is prohibited from using the box baler, forklifts or any other type of heavy machinery, let alone a roller coaster. While I don't agree with Markey on almost any other issue, this one kind of makes sense.
Saturday, May 29, 2004 3:18 PM
No, this does not make sense. When you are 16 you can drive a car, which you can do more harm to someone else then operating a Roller Coaster. Also if this law passes expect to pay more to get into theme parks across the country. People are complain about $40 to get it theme parks how about when it is changed to $60 to cover the cost of 18 and older employees.
Saturday, May 29, 2004 4:20 PM
While I don't disagree with having 18+ year old ops, I have to say this:

I know 18-50 year olds I wouldn't trust to get me a Mt. Dew out of the soda machine, let alone any living being's safety. (Hell, I wouldn't let them feed my fish!)

I know 14-17 year olds I'd trust my life to and then some.

Age doesn't = qualification or competency, ya know? *** This post was edited by Peabody 5/29/2004 5:36:30 PM ***

Saturday, May 29, 2004 4:44 PM
Well, I don't entirely disagree with this, I mean theres a limit to how young you can be to be operating a roller coaster. But on the other hand most companies already have these rules in place. This guy, Markey, needs to get his head out of his rear end and look at issues that might actually be time worthy. All he can think about is putting rules and regulations on amusement parks and roller coasters. I hope he does something worth while in office.
Saturday, May 29, 2004 5:46 PM
Roller Coasters pretty much run themselves... unlike a forklift or other heavy machinery. I think if you are aloud to drive a car, you should be able to work at an amusement park operating a roller coaster. This could also make even more staffing headaches than parks currently have.
Saturday, May 29, 2004 5:52 PM
eightdotthree's avatar carlo18 has a great point. Although I know some 16 year olds who I dont trust to drive a car, I know I wasnt ready to driva at that age. I waited an extra year to start driving.
Saturday, May 29, 2004 8:16 PM
I'm 17. If I lived near a theme park I would do anything to be a ride op for a roller coaster however even I think this bill is probably for the best. However congress has a lot more important things to do then worry about who's running a ride at an amusement park.*** This post was edited by MAGXL200 5/29/2004 8:21:03 PM ***
Saturday, May 29, 2004 8:17 PM
Driving a car at 16 isn't a good reason for letting 16+ year olds operating rides. In fact, it's downright flawed.

Here's why...

16 year olds are given what is called an operator license. It only allows them to operate the motor vehicle for personal use to get to where they need to. Even then, in most cases, they are on probation for a specified period of time. More states are shifting the age to 17-18, or are using graduated licensing, so you don't get full privileges until you are 17-18.

Why are they doing it? It's a known fact that those who were 16 were in several accidents, many times they being the cause. When they started enacting the new laws for the licensing, the accident rates among those dropped (mostly with those in the graduated licensing states).

If you want to transport people as part of your job, in virtually every state, you either have to have a chauffers or a commercial driver's license. For that, you must be 18 to drive WITHIN THE STATE. You can only do interstate driving with a CDL if you're 21+. Why? Because the driver becomes legally responsible for the safety of his passengers.

For a better comparison, operating a coaster is like operating anything where you have to carry people as part of your paid duty, where like operating heavy machinery, you should be at least 18.

In addition, I have seen several 16-17 year olds goofing off more at the parks. They get cocky and insist on doing stuff their way, and not the park's way. I then see those who are 18+ get ticked off.

Lastly, I don't agree that coasters run themselves at all, unlike other machinery. You have to check people to make sure they are properly wearing their restraints, you have to give the all clear, and while you might only have to press 1-2 buttons on some rides, you also have to keep an eye on it and make sure people aren't breaking the rules. It really takes a lot to run a coaster. I doubt many of you have even operated one for an extended period of time.

While I don't agree with Markey a lot, there's some stuff he just plain makes sense about. Because of the behavior of a select few (enthusiasts included), we are eventually going to have to accept any new regulations unless we really start to govern ourselves, which so far I haven't seen happening much if at all. *** This post was edited by HostMan 5/29/2004 8:49:17 PM ***

Saturday, May 29, 2004 9:01 PM
16 years olds are usually the most cautious on ride safety.

my point of view

Saturday, May 29, 2004 9:21 PM
Question is... can you back up your POV?

While I am not disputing the fact that there can be some mature 16-17 year olds who can handle operating rides and handling machinery (and the fact that some 18+ people can act idiotic while operating a ride), I have generally seen many of those goof off, and when given any little sense of "seniority" or "authority" they really go nuts with it, thinking they can do whatever they want.

I've seen many of them check restraints very half-assed, I've seen them not watching the ride, and I've seen them even hop on trains as it's leaving the station for a bit and then jump off. I haven't seen many 18+ year olds do that.

Another thing to consider... most 16-17 year olds are just working for the sake of earning money for spending. If they get fired, they have the support of mommy/daddy. Those who are 18+ typically have something they are working towards and don't want to get fired, so they will be the most cautious on ride safety, versus the minors.

Saturday, May 29, 2004 9:30 PM
Do I think the bill will have dramatically bad effects of the industry if it passes? No.

Do I think Congress should be worrying about record high gas prices, war in Irag, hunger instead of worrying about the age of rideops? Yes.*** This post was edited by RCmuzikGuY 5/30/2004 9:29:09 AM ***

Saturday, May 29, 2004 10:06 PM
Jeff's avatar What state do you live in? Here in Ohio, it has gone quite the opposite way, with kids able to get a learning permit now at 15. Regardless, your "argument" isn't an argument for ride operators. If you want to make a case, tell me how many ride injuries and fatalities can be attributed to age and then we'll talk.
Saturday, May 29, 2004 10:20 PM
It should be the parks discression for who is most qualified to opperate rides. They should be the ones who monitors the procedures that the ride opps are taking and make sure they are doing their job because in the end, if an accident occurs, the park will most likely be at fault. It is their reputation on the line. A lot of parks take that very seriously and those are the ones that have very few incidents.
Saturday, May 29, 2004 11:56 PM
Last I checked, most parents don't force their kids to work open to close 5 days a week at an amusement park. I know many kids under 18 who work as ride ops at area amusement parks not because they're forced to, but because they want to! Instead of working at a grocery store or restaurant, they make the trek up to Kennywood or Geauga Lake because they want to be part of their local amusement park. These same kids happen to be some of the best ops that I've seen, because they enjoy their job, and they want to have a positive impact on the park. It's not right that these employees could get snuffed out of their jobs because of the illusion that young ride ops instantly lead to unsafe situations. If park supervisors are doing their job, then they will be able to weed out the bad employees without getting rid of an entire age group. Adult ops do stupid things too, ya know.
Sunday, May 30, 2004 12:49 AM
My opinion is that, if you want to get qualified candidates who will successfully carry out their job the way they're supposed to, you do a more exacting and thorough hiring process than just, "You like amusement parks; here, take the keys to Nitro." Then again, that also means that, since the candidates are more qualified, the pay scale would likely increase -- and, since God forbid a corporation do something like that, we find ourselves in the situation that we're in. But that's just my opinion, and since no one can seem to produce any statistics as per Jeff's request, that opinion and a buck-fifty will get you a decent cup of coffee.

Markey is still wasting his time on piddling affairs and can't seem to produce any rhyme or reason behind his obsession with moderating amusement parks. Whatever the cause, he's wasting taxpayers' time and money. In a world where terrorism, though it's slowly become just another buzzword, is still a reality, an elected official makes his entire Congressional career revolve around amusement park rides? Give me a break. Massachusetts voters, you know what to do. Get this man out of office ASAP.

Sunday, May 30, 2004 9:12 AM
I work at Kennywood in the refreshemnts department and I heard you have to be 18 to work the roller coasters and 16 for the other rides. I'm pretty sure that goes for the Lil' Phantom in Kiddieland too.

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