WASHINGTON, DC -- In light of recent accidents on amusement park rides in Ohio and Arkansas, Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), again called for Congress to pass federal legislation closing a massive loophole in safety regulation of fixed-site theme park rides. Last month, Markey reintroduced the National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act, H.R. 2320, legislation that would extend federal oversight to cover fixed-site amusement park rides, which are currently exempt from federal consumer product safety laws and regulations.
“These two accidents highlight the need for federal regulation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission at fixed site amusement parks. Today, CPSC does not have the authority to go in after accidents like these, inspect these rides and find out what went wrong in order to ensure that similar failures don't occur again at these parks or at others like them. Amusement park safety is no laughing matter and we can no longer afford to leave our children hanging when it comes to their safety,” said Rep. Markey.

The nation’s leading safety agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), oversees the safety of carnival (“mobile”) rides, but a loophole prohibits the CPSC from overseeing the safety of park (“permanent”) rides. Markey’s legislation would allow the CPSC to perform its intended mission – preventing accidents before they occur by ensuring that safety corrections found necessary on one ride in one state are implemented on all similar rides in all states.

The National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act has been endorsed by Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, Saferparks.org, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Kids in Danger. Rep. Markey’s bill will close the special-interest loophole that prevents effective federal safety oversight of amusement park rides. It would restore to the CPSC the standard safety jurisdiction over “fixed-site” amusement park rides that it used to have before the Roller Coaster Loophole was created ed. Markey’s bill also authorizes appropriations of $500 thousand annually to the CPSC to carry out the additional responsibilities. It would restore CPSC’s authority to:

1. Investigate accidents;
2. Develop and enforce action plans to correct defects; and
3. Act as a national clearinghouse for accident and defect data.

June 11, 2007

CONTACT: Jessica Schafer