Knott’s Berry Farm stranding highlights need to close loophole in federal oversight of fixed site amusement park rides

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a leading consumer advocate in Congress and author of legislation to improve amusement park ride safety, released the following statement after an amusement park ride at the Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park in California yesterday left passengers stranded 300 feet in the air for several hours. This was the second time in just two weeks that the same ride malfunctioned.

“When it comes to amusement park ride safety, American consumers shouldn’t be left hanging without proper safeguards,” said Rep. Markey. “It’s troubling that another malfunction surfaced on the same ride at the same park just two weeks ago.  This incident is a reminder that we need to close the dangerous loophole in federal oversight of amusement park rides that puts industry interests before the safety of American families.”

Under current law, the Consumer Protection Safety Commission is authorized to oversee temporary rides at traveling fairs or carnivals, but lacks authority over “fixed site” amusement rides that are not transported from place to place.  This blanket exemption for fixed site rides originates from a 1981 amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Act introduced after lobbying pressure from the amusement park ride industry. Rep. Markey has introduced legislation in every Congress since 1999 to restore full federal oversight to the rides that Americans enjoy every day. H.R. 2861, the National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act, has been endorsed by U.S. PIRG, Safe Kids Worldwide, Consumers Union, Kids In Danger, and the Consumer Federation of America.