Addressing the safety of amusement park rides in Oklahoma

In the wake of two recent amusement park accidents—one fatal and the other resulting in injuries—residents of Oklahoma have voiced concerns over the safety of such operations. These two accidents occurred in other states, but the incidents raise concern for citizens in all areas of the United States. People want to know what role, if any, state governments fill in making sure these popular attractions are safe.

The first thing citizens should understand is that the owners of amusement and theme parks do not want accidents to happen. Even a minor accident will likely impact day-to-day operations, while a fatal accident could mean permanent closure. As such, it is probably safe to say that owners of parks do attempt to ensure their premises are safe. However, this is not always enough as evidenced by news of recent accidents.

Oklahoma is one of a handful of states that take safety matters into their own hands. Before any park ride is allowed to operate, it must undergo stringent inspections by Oklahoma Department of Labor inspectors. Further, these rides must undergo additional inspections once each year and any time a ride is disassembled and reassembled. State inspectors review all elements of the ride from its foundation to its electrical sources to its operation and all areas in between. This is the case for permanent amusement parks as well as mobile attractions.

Accidents can still occur, but Oklahoma does everything it can to protect its citizens while patronizing an amusement park. When accidents do occur, victims may want to find out if negligence contributed to the incident, especially if it resulted in severe injuries or death. One way to do this is by working with a lawyer experienced in premises liability cases. An attorney will have the right resources to launch a thorough investigation, and if negligence is a factor, a lawyer can help victims pursue the appropriate compensation.

Source: Oklahoma Department of Labor, "Amusement Ride Safety Statutes and Rules," accessed Aug. 10, 2016

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