Posted Monday, December 28, 2009 11:44 AM | Contributed by Jeff
Portable rides set up at traveling carnivals and school fairs are subject to federal regulation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but the permanent rides at theme parks such as Kentucky Kingdom and Disney World are not. In an e-mail to The Courier-Journal, Rep. Ed Markey said he hasn't given up on winning change — he introduced his bill again earlier this year, and he is seeking a congressional hearing on it.
Read more from The Courier-Journal.
With all due respect to Kaitlyn Lassiter -- and my heart truly goes out to her undeserved pain and loss -- I'm not sure that adding federal regulatory oversight is going to help park safety one iota. (And this is independent of the fact that Ed Markey is a hole with an ass before it.)
I'm center-to-left about most matters, but in this regard I just can't see the usefulness of bringing the feds in. Portable carnival rides are already subject to federal regulation. So which would you rather put your trust in -- a Spider slapped together in two hours by hung over carnies, or the same ride in a permanent installation, maintained and inspected by career professionals? Yeah, that was a rhetorical question.
Operators of permanent installations have more to lose. It's not like they can simply pack up and set up in a new city where the potential customers are not aware of their safety past. Also, the portable rides can cross state lines, so it makes sense for the feds to regulate them.
I'm ashamed that he "represents" my state.
What annoys me is that Markey is so transparent. His rhetoric is classic vote getting attention whoring. If the "do it for the children" nonsense wasn't bad enough, now he's latching on to something the president said and using it for his own context (which may be a strategic failure anyway given Obama's mediocre-at-best approval rating).
The Lassiter accident was horrific, and even as a non-death is still the worst one that I can think of in the ten years this site has been around. But the real fact of the matter is that fed oversight would not have prevented the accident unless it were anything short of having a qualified expert appointed by the government to inspect and operate the ride himself.
Depending on the location, the show, the ride and the state, sometimes I think the carnival rides are safer. But it has nothing to do with Federal oversight; it has to do with the scrutiny that fixed installations don't get because certain components never get taken apart.
I think it is a bit disingenuous to imply that Markey's Federal oversight plan would have made any difference in the Kentucky Kingdom/Kaitlyn Lasitter case. Kentucky has a strong State inspection program which failed to prevent the incident. Markey's proposal contains NO inspection provision which means it too would have done nothing to prevent the incident. Markey would charge the CPSC, which may not even be the right agency for the job, with investigating ride incidents and issuing repair orders or recall notices. That means the Federal agency does NOTHING until there is an incident.
The CPSC model works great for products where there are thousands if not millions of identical or nearly identical products out there. If one kid is hurt by a toy, a repair or recall order can identify dangers in the millions of identical units and prevent a recurrance. But there is no such thing as two identical amusement rides. The industry is so small that every ride is a hand-crafted piece of machinery and no two are truly identical. Sometimes there are common hazards, but even at that, the machines are not identical. The ride that hurt Ms. Lasitter was a prototype that has a different safety system from the other rides out there, so even though it is now a known hazard, the other rides might already have protective measures in place, or may not be subject to that particular hazard. More important, the owner, the State and the manufacturer have independently evaluated the incident and in spite of the absence of Federal authority, have taken steps to preventing a recurance.
The bottom line is, Markey is proposing an inappropriate solution to a problem that may not actually exist!
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
That's what kills me... the federal oversight would not have prevented the Lassiter accident, and Markey still rides that pony. What an idiot.
Insert "beat a dead horse" comment here.
I almost wish the bill would get passed just so he could be proven wrong. Accidents will still happen and people will still get tragically hurt or killed. And with any luck they will point the finger back at Markey.Last edited by Soggy, Monday, December 28, 2009 2:14 PM
I guess Markey is so hepped up about saving the children so he can vote to send them off to Afghanistan and Iraq once they turn 18.
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