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September 7, 1999

Proposed Federal Bill To Regulate Amusement Parks

Washington D.C. -- After a series of deaths and injuries at US amusement parks, a member of Congress is planning to introduce a bill that will give the federal government the authority to inspect, investigate and set standards for safety at amusement parks.

The proposed bill is set to be introduced this week by Representative Edward Markey (D), of Massachusetts.

"As rides get higher, faster and more technologically sophisticated, the potential for catastrophe increases," said Markey.

Markey told reporters last Friday, that his bill will give the Consumer Product Safety Commission the power to set standards for rides, perform safety inspections, conduct investigations, recall unsafe rides and impose civil penalties.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has had the authority to regulate rides at carnivals and fairs since 1981, but does not have the ability to regulate permanent amusement parks.

Critics of the bill were quick to point out that only 1 in 250 million will be killed on an amusement park ride, according to recent statistics. Based on these statistics, critics claim that the bill is unnecessary and will not improve upon the industries excellent safety record.

But critics of the amusement park industry dispute the claims, saying that competition for faster, taller and better rides comes at the price of consumer safety.