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Letter to Congress on Amusement Park Ride Safety Act

June 17, 2005
The Honorable Edward Markey
2108 Rayburn Building
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-2107
Dear Representative Markey:
Consumers Union is pleased to endorse your bill, HR 2500, the “National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act.” We applaud your leadership in seeking to prevent future amusement park deaths and injuries.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) has demonstrated its ability to identify and prevent injuries from many consumer products — including mobile amusement park rides. The National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act will grant the CPSC the same scope of authority to act as a clearinghouse for information and protect against unreasonable risks of harm on fixed-site rides that it currently retains for carnival rides that are moved from site to site.
We believe the CPSC’s regulatory authority over fixed location amusement parks must be restored. The death just this month (June 14) of a 4-year-old on a fixed park amusement ride – “Mission: SPACE” – in Florida, only underscores the importance or restoring to CPSC the ability to review events at fixed site parks. The current loophole in the law that prevents federal safety experts from participating in this investigation is a serious barrier to effective safety oversight.
Federal oversight is crucial to the coordination about, and prevention of, deaths and injuries associated with fixed site amusement parks. Further, the patchwork of state laws — some strong, others weak or nonexistent — make it even more critical that the CPSC have the ability to exercise authority over these sites. As a federal agency, the CPSC is in a position to ensure that this recent, terrible tragedy is treated not just as a local concern or a concern for one park or owner, but also as an opportunity to look at safety issues that apply in every amusement park with rides that share characteristics of “Mission: SPACE.”
Consumers Union supports your legislation and commends your strong voice and leadership on this important safety concern issue. We look forward to working with you.
Sally Greenberg
Senior Product Safety Counsel
Washington Office
Janell Mayo Duncan
Legislative and Regulatory Counsel
Washington Office