Posted Thursday, May 6, 2004 12:40 PM | Contributed by Jeff
Even though no final report has been issued pinning fault on the restraint in the Six Flags New England death, Rep. Ed Markey says it's time for feds to have oversight to warn industry and order changes. In an editorial published in the Boston Globe, Markey says, "In the absence of any federal regulation, ride regulation falls to state or local jurisdictions unless, as in all too many states, the parks are simply left to regulate themselves."
Read more from The Boston Globe.
The industry is small and tiny, and I can assure you that every park that had the restraint in question knew about the death at Knott's and talked about it. (And even that is somewhat irrelevant, since the latest accident might have very well been human error.) When the Chance Chaos at Michigan's Adventure broke off of its hub, every park that had one knew about it the very next day.
Idiot. The only special interest the industry has is not to kill people because it's bad for business. Perhaps Markey should drop by one of these IAAPA pow-wows that go on periodically.
Here's some info from his site. A whole section dedicated to his Amusement Industry crap.
Markey, like most politicians from Massachusetts, is an attention-whoring fool. Roller coasters and coaster accidents draw attention, especially from the media, so of course he wants to be involved.
EDIT: I read the article. Markey thinks there are as many roller-coaster fatalties as there are bus, train and plane fatalities. BULLS***! I bet more people died on that last plane crash in Queens than in the history of roller coasters.*** This post was edited by Den 5/6/2004 2:08:02 PM ***
The problem is, they are all different (in their own nuanced ways). As an operator and/or manufactuer, this creates a significant overhead in dealing with keeping up with all the different regs. I believe this is different than in Europe where there is a commonly accepted standard (the T.U.V right?), such that if an entity is in compliance with that, then they will be in compliance with the government. While it seems that the majority of states with regulations are based on the ASTM standards, I dont think there is anything that limits the state regulation to those.
Put short, a ride that is okay in New Mexico might not pass regs in Ohio even though it meets ASTM or TUV standards (this is just an example, I know nothing of the specific standards of OH and NM).
Clearly, the industry has a very safe operating history. And currently, they are subject to inspection/regulation. What real difference should it make *who* is doing the inspection/regulation? If there are real and pratical standards (and I do NOT suggest that Markey's thoughts represent these) would it not be in the best interest of the manuf/op to advocate for "universal" standards administered by the federal government?
Or to paraphrase the one who said this to me: "Wouldnt you rather deal with *one* inept agency rather than thirty?"
just something to think about.
--you may now continue with your "Get Markey" lynch-mob...
His new proposal for a minimum age for amusement ride operators is reasonable, albeit misplaced in the climate of State control over ride regulations. The best operators in the business have had similar requirements for years. Ohio says that ride operators have to be at least 16, but Cedar Fair says they have to be 18 (don't know about Paramount).
But the proposal he keeps bringing up year after year has nothing to do with preventing accidents or effective oversight of amusement rides. His proposal is to reauthorize the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate ride incidents and make recommendations as they are now able to do with traveling carnival rides. That is NOT effective Federal amusement ride oversight. Investigating incidents does not prevent accidents from happening, it only prevents accidents from happening *again*. A proper ride safety program would involve requiring adherance to industry standards for design, construction, maintenance and operation of amusement rides, along with a program of compliance inspections. THAT is how you make sure to insure safety: you force the operators to do what the industry has been saying all along is the Right Thing™. Not by investigating incidents.
Many states already do this with amusement parks and carnivals, and many states...including Massachussets, I should point out...already have effective, standards-based ride safety programs in place. States that don't have such programs should have them, and if Markey's legislation were to insure that such programs existed across the country (which it doesn't), I'd say it was a good idea.
The truly scary thing about Rep. Markey's proposal is that if it were law, if his bullcrap about Federal oversight of amusement rides as a result of his law were to be believed, some State legislators, always in search of ways to fill chronic budget deficits, might look towards scaling back or even dismantling their own effective but ostensibly redundant State programs. And that would be a very Bad Thing™.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
BTW, Rideman, we have never seen a state reduce their own program that regulates a industry, only draft legislation that provides for tougher penalities if a violation is found. Other states also have the ability to create and conduct their own inspections. Alot of times, if a state has created a law that isn't necessarily covered by a federal law, the state can still go after the builder of that product.
That is not what Markey is proposing. If it were, I might not be as annoyed by him. What he is proposing will cost however many millions of dollars the current proposal allocates (a pittance, really, compared to the cost of running a proper inspection program...) and will have little or no effect on rider safety. In practical terms, he is advocating that the CPSC should investigate incidents and require changes if faults are found. Not a word about standards compliance or proactive inspections.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
*** This post was edited by RideMan 5/6/2004 6:20:03 PM ***
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