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September 24, 1999

Ride Accidents Have Risen According To Commission

Washington DC -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported injuries on amusement park rides has risen 87 percent over the past five years.

According to the commission injuries that required emergency room treatment rose from 2,400 in 1994 to an estimated 4,500 in 1998, according to Ann Brown, commission chairwoman. These statistics include permanent parks in addition to mobile fairs and carnivals.

Brown recently revealed the statistics in a letter written to Representative Edward Markey, D-Massachusets. Brown's letter was in response to a request for Markey for information on amusement park related accidents.

Markey hopes after the recent rash of incidents this year, to introduce a bill that will require the commission to oversee the nations permanent amusement parks.

The proposed bill will require the commission to set standards for rides, conduct investigations, perform safety inspections and impose civil fines for violations.

Opponents of the proposed bill say that regulation of the nation's amusement parks is unnecessary. Opponents claim that park operators cannot afford to let safety slip, since park attendance and profits are directly related to their safety record.

Currently ride safety inspections are left up to the state or local government to impose and thirteen states do not have laws requiring such inspections.

In 1998, an estimated 270 million Americans visited an amusement park. According to statistics approximately 1 in 250 million riders are severely injured on an amusement park ride.