Holding Amusement Parks Accountable For Accidents

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has jurisdiction over mobile amusement rides, which are transported from location to location. The CPSC conducts investigations to identify specific mobile rides that may contain defects and that present substantial product hazards to the riders. The federal commission also assists individual states in the preparation of their own legislation by identifying state contacts and examples of legislation. The CPSC also collects information on deaths and injuries associated with amusement rides.

The state of South Carolina maintains strict regulations and safety guidelines for the operation of amusement rides in the Myrtle Beach area. According to the South Carolina statute, "it is the intent of these guidelines that amusement devices are designed, constructed, assembled or disassembled, maintained, and operated as to prevent injuries."

The following amusement ride requirements are in place in South Carolina:

  • All amusement devices must have a state-issued permit. Permits are valid for 12 months.
  • Notice of planned schedules for amusement rides shall (a) be in writing, (b) identify the temporary device and (c) state the intended dates and locations of use. These are submitted to the safety commissioner.
  • The amusement device must pass all required inspections and must have all appropriate insurance requirements.
  • The company must operate the attraction properly, and all operators must be properly trained.
  • The company must keep proper records as required by the state.

Rider Safety Check

The National Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that over 270 million people visit American amusement parks each year. An average of 7,000 of the visitors are treated in emergency rooms for injuries they sustained in amusement ride accidents. Prior to getting on a ride, or allowing your family member to ride, do not take any unnecessary risks. Take safety into your hands at events where rides are temporarily set up.

A Checklist

  • Visibly inspect the park and the ride facilities. Trust your instincts and don't ride if the ride area and park look questionable for safety.
  • Read all ride warning signs. The ride may not be appropriate for your child or for you or your family with specific health conditions.
  • Assess conduct of ride operator. They should be paying full-time attention.
  • Assess ride appearance. Again trust your instincts, and do not ride if it does not look safe.
  • Be alert to other riders. Rider conduct is critical on rides. If you feel jeopardized by another's misconduct do not get on the ride.
  • Do not force children to ride rides. If they are afraid of the ride they may act erratically, causing unnecessary risk to themselves and others.
  • Once on a ride, follow allow posted rider rules.

If the amusement park company does not comply with the above codes, or if it fails to keep fully trained operators and attendants on staff, you could be at risk for serious injury on an amusement park ride.

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