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Despite Improvements, Amusement Park Safety Needs More Work

As the temperatures rise, schools let out, and families begin planning their summer vacations. Many of these vacations may involve trips to local or even far-flung amusement parks. While the rides can be a thrilling way to spend a day, they can also turn tragic. There is no federal oversight when it comes to the safety of amusement park rides. This is left to individual state agencies, who must inspect both stationary amusement parks and those that travel. While many parks are, indeed safe, and their rides are regularly inspected, some are saying that the agencies responsible for the inspection of rides lacks oversight, as SI Live reports.

In New York, amusement park rides are subject to initial inspection by the Department of Building’s Elevator Unit to ensure that safety protocols are being followed.

Although the number of spot inspections has increased and incidents on amusement rides have decreased, New York City’s Comptroller’s Office released an audit that suggested the agency suffers from “deficient oversight.”

The Department of Building’s Elevator Unit inspects the following kinds of amusement park rides:

  • Permanent rides for long-term operation

  • Truck-mounted movable rides

  • Portable rides for short-term operation

  • Inflatible rides

Every 120 days, permanent rides are supposed to receive an inspection. For portable rides, they must be inspected each time they are moved. They are also approved for no more than two weeks at a time. Since 2012, there have been 23 accidents on amusement park rides according to the DOB. Accidents result in a cease-use order until the ride can be inspected for safety.

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