Better oversight and safety regulations for roller coasters and amusement park rides

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How many roller coaster and amusement park accidents have to happen in this country before we demand federal safety guidelines for these kinds of rides?

This week we saw another roller coaster accident -- this time in Florida where a ride at a Daytona Beach amusement park (that was over 30 years old and had a history of documented safety concerns!) derailed, hurling riders toward the ground and seriously injuring 6 people.

It's one of just a string of accidents in recent years. A child was killed on a water park ride in Kansas; in Texas a mom was ejected from a roller coaster and plunged more than 75 feet, dying from her injuries; an Iraq war veteran was flung out of a roller coaster in New York state and died; and the list goes on.

Each year roughly 1,000 injuries are reported at amusement parks. And yet despite these numbers and high profile incidents, no federal oversight exists for amusement park rides like roller coasters. It's time to call on Congress and federal regulators to step in and make sure these rides are safe for all.

Regulations for amusement park rides are all over the map now -- in the 1980s, Congress passed a "roller coaster loophole" that took away any power from federal agencies to regulate them. As a result, some states have no regulations for amusement park rides at all, while other states have a patchwork of local or private officials investigating the safety of rides.

As the summer season kicks into gear, millions of families will be putting their kids on roller coasters and amusement park rides. We deserve to know that these rides are safe and will continue to be safe because of professional regulation.

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