Friday, December 14, 2007

We are Not Amused

I am not often in favor of more governmental regulation, for as we know, it usually makes things more expensive and increases red tape, but I was amazed to find out that there is almost no regulation when it comes to amusement park rides. Even those amazing rides at Disney World do not have to meet any government regulations for safety and in fact, the government cannot inspect them or even come into the amusement park unless invited to do so.

An average of four deaths and thousands of injuries take place on amusement park rides every year. Faulty rides are often disassembled after an injury, before any inspector gets there to conduct an investigation.

But a bill to set federal standards on safety and inspections of these rides has been waylaid in the House of Representatives and may not be voted on before the holiday recess. Lobbying by the powerful amusement park industry seeks to prevent it from passing.

People go to amusement parks to have fun. We expect to be thrilled, excited, maybe even scared - not to suffer serious injury or be killed. I have always thought there were some kind of standards that regulated what rides could operate. Apparently, there aren't any federal regulations whatsoever, and federal regulations are necessary because of the number of carnivals that travel state to state each summer.

I think everyone should contact their representatives in Congress and tell them that this bill needs to be addressed as quickly as possible and not shoved off the calendar. Now that it is winter, the flurry of stories of ride injuries and deaths is over and people forget. Let's tell them to act now to avoid another case like 13-year-old Kaitlyn Lassiter who had both feet severed by a loose cable on the Tower of Power at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. Tell them that we won't forget. Our kids are too important for us to forget.

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