DALLAS—From Six Flags to Walt Disney World, there's no federal oversight of permanent amusement parks, and regulations vary from state to state.
The death of a woman who fell 75 feet from Six Flags Over Texas' Texas Giant roller coaster is reinvigorating discussion among safety experts about whether it's time to create more consistent, stringent regulations for thrill rides across the nation.
"A baby stroller is subject to tougher federal regulation than a roller coaster carrying a child in excess of 100 miles per hour," Massachusetts Sen. Edward J. Markey, a Democrat, said in a statement this week. As a congressman, Markey tried for years to have the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission—which oversees mobile carnival rides—regulate fixed-site amusement parks.
But a spokeswoman with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions countered that the trade group believes state officials "are best able to determine the level of regulation needed for their state."
In Texas, the Department of Insurance requires that an amusement park's insurance company perform a yearly inspection and carry $1 million liability insurance on each ride, agency spokesman Jerry Hagins said. Six Flags Over Texas was in compliance with those rules at the time of Rose Ayala-Goana's July 19 fatal fall from the wooden coaster with steel rails that features a drop of 79 degrees and banked turns.
Six Flags Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Jim Reid-Anderson has said it's using "both internal and external experts" to investigate Ayala-Goana's death in Arlington. An official with the German manufacturer of the roller coaster's car told The Dallas Morning News they would send officials to inspect the ride, but referred all questions The Associated Press might have to Six Flags. Read More.
(Source: Associated Press)
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