Rep. Markey Still Targeting Roller Coasters – Ed Markey

Rep. Markey Still Targeting Roller Coasters – Ed Markey – Brief Article

Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts continues to press for CPSC jurisdiction over fixed site amusement parks, despite lack of evidence of much congressional or media support. CPSC Chairman Ann Brown earlier endorsed Markey’s legislative proposal.(3) In lobbying for Markey’s bill, she claimed there was an 87% increase in amusement ride injuries from 1994-1998, a number many observers say is questionable, based on CPSC’s own data.

Since 1981, CPSC has had authority over only “mobile” amusement rides, such as those used in traveling carnivals.

On June 29 Markey issued an inflammatory news release with a headline claiming “One-Third of Nation’s Roller Coasters Never Receive a Public Inspection!”

“It is appalling that we have not yet acted to fill this regulatory Black Hole in our safety laws,” Markey moaned.

A closer look at Markey’s list showed that he defined “public inspection” as inspections done by paid employees of either a federal, state or local government agency. He cited 180 roller coasters in 12 states that lacked such regulation.

But in nearly all of the states Markey cited, a combination of amusement park, or third party private inspectors, overseen by some governmental body, inspects rides. (Private and park inspectors are usually licensed or regulated by state or local authorities.) Even in the very few states with no state or local regulations, inspections are still done by insurance company representatives.

Industry observers say Markey has a hang-up with the word “public.”

“Ninety-three percent of U.S. amusement parks are subject to state or local oversight of inspections by licensed inspectors from private or park-related organizations,” one observer noted. There has been a notable lack of media interest in the roller coaster issue, despite Markey’s continuing campaign.

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