<i>USA Today</i> continues to sensationalize amusement safety

Posted Monday, July 31, 2000 5:44 AM | Contributed by Jeff

In yet another stunning lack of common sense journalism, USA Today reports that federal regulation of amusement parks is necessary, according to a forthcoming government report. Read the story here. The report says there has been a rise in "amusement park ride" injuries, but does not differentiate between portable and permanent rides, or describe what the term "amusement ride" entails (namely if it counts local go cart tracks, climbing walls, etc.).

The worst part of USA Today's report is that they reference a recent ride break-down that stranded passengers for "several hours." What this has to do with safety is beyond me. I was stuck on the lift of Six Flags America's new Superman coaster when the chain broke. It, like similar incidents, are the result of safety systems doing what they're supposed to, not "accidents." This is exactly the kind of stupid Fox-style reporting that it getting people all worked up. USA Today should be ashamed of this poor reporting, as it is only intended to sell newspapers.

A better, more common sense approach to regulation, would be for individual states to regulate themselves, as is the case now. Washington doesn't need another agency "looking out for us" when the states are doing just fine. If any one state is not doing a good job regulating its rides, then that is an issue for the constituents of that state, not Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusettes.

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