No One Expects a Day at the Amusement Park to Turn Deadly

Amusement parks are a wonderful American pastime, and many great memories are made by families at these parks. Unfortunately, amusement parks can also be extremely dangerous and have caused many injuries and deaths. We do not hear about accidents happening all the time, but when they do happen, the public generally knows—because when a ride severely malfunctions, the results are often fatal. 

How common are amusement park injuries and deaths? Here are a few statistics from the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) (the most current numbers are from 2006):

  • 8,800 injuries on amusement park rides that required Emergency Room treatment
  • 3,600 injuries on inflatable amusement park rides 
  • 3,100 injuries on public water slides
  • Children ages 10-14 suffered the most injuries of any age group
  • From 1987-2000, 51 people were killed on amusement park rides. 16 of those deaths were on roller coasters, and 11 were on whirling rides. 

What causes these injuries and deaths? Like most accidents, there can be many different contributing factors. The CPSC identifies the main reasons as:

  • Operator error. Individuals operating amusement park rides do the same thing over and over every day, and sometimes, that repetition can get tiring. If an operator is having an "off" day, they may forget to check a rider's seatbelt or may stop the ride too abruptly. 
  • Mechanical failure. A big part of running an amusement park is staying on top of ride maintenance, especially because these rides get a lot of use every single day. Parts of the ride could malfunction due to general wear and tear that the park owner did not take care of, or it could simply be a freak accident. 
  • Passengers failing to follow instructions. When people get on amusement park rides, especially younger people, they may feel like they don't have to follow the rules. The rules, however, have been put in place for a reason, and the primary reason is for their safety. 

If someone you love was killed in an amusement park accident, contact Austin wrongful death attorney Earl Straight for a free consultation at 512-454-1331.