New Jersey touts low injury rate, new water park regulations

Posted Friday, October 19, 2007 9:37 AM | Contributed by Jeff

With many of New Jersey's amusement parks now shuttered for the season, state officials say it was a safe summer on rides in the state. There were four serious injuries as of Sept. 30 -- one more than last year. The state also approved new water park regulations.

Read more from The Star-Ledger.

Friday, October 19, 2007 9:40 AM
I'd be interested to hear what Dave has to say about this given his recent comments about how ridiculous Jersey's regulations are.
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Friday, October 19, 2007 11:01 AM
Note that no accidents were at the 'big' parks, but rather suburban FEC's.
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Saturday, October 20, 2007 1:52 PM
Jeff, that's an interesting point, and it's complicated by a couple of factors. I've noted that some of the New Jersey regulations are ridiculous, not that New Jersey's program doesn't make for safe rides. The question is, how does New Jersey compare to other states in terms of ride safety? But even that's hard to analyze, because first, the industry is safe enough that any change in the injury rate from year to year is pretty much "background noise" anyway (serious injuries in New Jersey are up 33% from last year; I'm almost surprised that isn't the headline...!).

The complication is that among the less ridiculous requirements of New Jersey regs is a recordkeeping requirement that essentially means that anything that looks like it might be an injury gets recorded. That makes it hard to compare the injury rates to other states, for instance to Ohio where an "accident" requires at least hospital admission or death. It's also complicated by the variations in the number of rides given between states.

The point is this: New Jersey has a system that makes for reasonably safe rides. The open question is, could they continue to do that if they did not, for instance, require manufacturers to disclose to the state their proprietary information; if they dropped the elements of their law which were based on ASTM draft language which has not been adopted by ASTM; or if they eliminated their propensity for requiring knee-jerk reactions to bad incidents (for instance their requirement for dual anti-rollback devices on single-car coasters when they would be better off to simply prohibit particular designs that don't actually work). Furthermore, in spite of the media hyperbole, New Jersey and Florida do not have the only effective amusement ride laws in the country.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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