Markey on accidents: Bring in the feds

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.

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Thursday, May 6, 2004 12:44 PM
If he wants to make a case, I'd really love to see him explain how it is that the feds would have prevented any death in the last ten years.

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.

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Thursday, May 6, 2004 12:44 PM
Does anyone know when this man's term in office is up?
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Thursday, May 6, 2004 1:13 PM
Yea, I want to know how a guy keeps getting relected when his only significant policy seems to be regulating amusement parks.
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Thursday, May 6, 2004 1:19 PM
Those wacky Democrats :)

Here's some info from his site. A whole section dedicated to his Amusement Industry crap.

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Thursday, May 6, 2004 1:33 PM
Raise your hand if you didn't see this coming.

Anyone?

Anyone?

Buehler?

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Thursday, May 6, 2004 1:42 PM
(Hand remains down). I do agree with one of his gripes though. He is calling for legislation that requires a minimum age of 18 to operate amusement park rides, and I think this is a good idea...maybe even older. Many kids aren't mature enough to exhibit the professionalism and seriousness required to operate a roller coaster. If this accident was indeed "operator error", then that is absolutely outrageous. In no way should anyone ever be injured or killed because of a careless act by an employee of the park. Again, kids can be naive to the real danger that can exist if they don't take their job seriously.*** This post was edited by Bakeman 5/6/2004 1:50:22 PM ***
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Thursday, May 6, 2004 1:49 PM
I think the man must have really been scared on a coaster as a child. Looks like he(like many people in this case), are grabbing at what they can to get what they want...
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Thursday, May 6, 2004 1:59 PM
He could be out of office this year if the voters in his state had a brain!!!!Of course what can we expect from a state that elects a guy as senator who knowingly lets a woman drown to death and then still re-elects him. *** This post was edited by Bob O 5/6/2004 2:13:52 PM ***
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Thursday, May 6, 2004 1:59 PM
He is a Democrat? I am shamed!
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Thursday, May 6, 2004 2:03 PM
Require ride-ops to be over 18, and parks will have to close. That's like requiring McDonald's drive-thru cashiers to be over 18.

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 ***

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Thursday, May 6, 2004 2:06 PM
Anyone?

Anyone?

Fry?

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Thursday, May 6, 2004 2:15 PM
I know how you all feel about the feds and such (yeah, I'm a feds...SO WHAT!) :), but someone made a really good point to me the other day that makes federal regulation seem like not such a bad idea. Now, I personally think, and I'm sure most of you would agree, that the states have good inspection/regulation policies in effect now.

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.

lata, jeremy

--you may now continue with your "Get Markey" lynch-mob...

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Thursday, May 6, 2004 2:23 PM
If Markey really wants effective Federal regulation of amusement rides, why has he not proposed an effective Federal amusement ride regulation statute?

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.

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Thursday, May 6, 2004 3:00 PM
**** YOU ED MARKEY! With all the **** going on in the world, this is the one thing you have to sit around and worry about. I feel sorry for his contituents. Thank god he is not going any where higher than being a rep.
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Thursday, May 6, 2004 3:08 PM
Rideman's suggestion isn't a bad one. I work for a federal program that is responsible for conducting annunal inspections (I don't want to give details because what I'm writing could affect our funding). The program is a good one, has been studied several times and has shown the quality of the product has improved as the result of federal oversight. Is it perfect, no. There is always room for improvement. But the chance of a bad product has been reduced by ensuring quality procedures are being adhered to. However, the law that created the program was the result of work on the part of several organizations. That is what Markey needs to do. He needs to work with amusement park companies, the IAAPA and other organizations like Safer Parks and ACE to draft a bill that ensures amusement park safety. Not legislation that would give him peace of mind.

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.

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Thursday, May 6, 2004 3:29 PM
If operators had to be at least 18, the major problem with alot of theme parks, as I have found so far (including the one I work for now) would lose alot of their job market. Of all the ride operators in the park, probably less than half are over the age of 18. The main problem with this is, theme parks pay very poorly. The only group of people that they can effectively convince to work this cheaply are the younger generations in high school looking for a job to do during the summer. If legislation was passed to create laws preventing operators under the age of 18, I believe many parks, including Six Flags, would need to increase pay to a competitive rate. This is the only thing I agree with Ed Markey on. If pay was higher, then the chances of getting better qualified and more knowledgeable individuals to work out at parks would be much greater. I agree with Rideman though, as I don't really see what good can come out of all that other crap that flows out of his mouth.
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Thursday, May 6, 2004 3:43 PM
Does anyone want to make up a graphic thats anti Ed Markey and put it on every coaster site out there?*** This post was edited by Dane186 5/6/2004 3:43:58 PM ***
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Thursday, May 6, 2004 4:44 PM
coasterguts, there is an important distinction, and in fact it's kind of central to my argument. The difference between what Markey is proposing for amusement rides and what you are doing in your program is that you are operating a compliance inspection program. You are doing exactly what needs to be done, and from the sound of it, you're doing it in exactly the way that the best State ride inspection programs work, where you are enforcing industry standards.

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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Thursday, May 6, 2004 5:40 PM
I hate that man mor than life its self. Peole in his distic need to get that prick out of office,before he dose something stupid
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