During Press Conference, Lawmaker, Amusement Ride Accident Victim, Safety Advocate Call for Federal Safety Oversight of Amusement Park Rides
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and long-time consumer protection advocate, was joined today by the victim of an amusement park ride accident and a leading roller coaster safety expert to renew the call to close the ‘roller coaster loophole.’ The loophole specifically prohibits the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), our nation’s leading safety agency, from overseeing the safety of amusement park rides (so-called “fixed-site” rides).


“Today, as Memorial Day and the beginning of the summer season approach, millions of American families will head to amusement parks across the country. This year, many families are facing economic hardships, and gas prices have skyrocketed to record levels, making a vacation closer to home - perhaps at a nearby amusement park – more within the reach of families than a longer, more expensive trip,” said Rep. Markey.

“Sadly, most mothers and fathers taking their families to amusement parks across the country have no idea that the federal government is actually prevented from taking action to keep them safe. This leaves a gigantic “regulatory black hole” for park visitors, raising the risk of more serious injuries and even deaths aboard the rides.”

The Lasitter family from Kentucky and the founder of the non-profit Saferparks organization, Kathy Fackler, joined Rep. Markey at a press conference about this loophole today. Kaitlyn Lasitter’s feet were severed due to a malfunction while she was riding the “Superman Tower of Power” ride at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in June 2007. Both the Lasitters and Ms. Fackler spoke in support of Rep. Markey’s bill to close the loophole, the Amusement Park Ride Safety Act (H.R. 2320).

H.R. 2320 would restore CPSC’s authority to investigate accidents at parks, develop and enforce action plans to correct defects, and act as a national clearinghouse for accident and defect data. The bill also authorizes the appropriation of $500,000 for each fiscal year to the CPSC to exercise this authority. The bill would restore CPSC’s authority to apply the full range of consumer protection tools that it currently utilizes in cases involving the consumer products under its jurisdiction (which presently includes carnival rides) to the rides at amusement parks.

“It’s not just the roller coasters that are turned upside down – it’s the law too,” Rep. Markey said. “We have federal safety oversight for smaller, slower rides at traveling carnivals, but no federal oversight for faster, more sophisticated rides at amusement parks. It makes no sense.”

“Kaitlyn and her family have shown extraordinary courage and determination to speak out and help restore federal safety oversight to amusement parks across our country. I’ve worked on this issue for the past 9 years, and I pledge to continue pushing this issue and working to close this dangerous loophole so no family has to suffer the tragedy that the Lasitters have endured,” added Rep. Markey.

Click HERE for more information about Rep. Markey's work to close the roller coaster loophole.


May 14, 2008

CONTACT: Jessica Schafer, 202.225.2836