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.
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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