Enact Tougher Regulations on Amusement Park Rides

Target: Senator John Thune, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation

Goal: Enforce federal regulations on permanent amusement park rides to ensure the safety of visitors.

After the death of a 10-year-old boy at Kansas’s Schlitterbahn Water Park while riding the world’s largest water slide, it is time for the federal government to intervene and ensure the safety of amusement park rides and attractions. Kansas is only one of many states that has rather lax safety regulations, especially in regards to the height of rides.

Permanent amusement parks such as Disney World and Universal Studios are under no federal safety regulations. Instead, the safety of popular amusement park rides has been left to the power of the states, creating an uneven, patchwork system of safety regulations with no federal oversight.

While the federal government monitors temporary rides at carnivals and fairs, the nation’s larger amusement parks that attract millions of visitors do not have to report inspections or accidents to the federal government. The safety of rides are left to the states, many of which enforce weak safety laws in regards to inspections and accident investigations.

According to a finding published in Clinical Pediatrics, an average of 4,423 children are injured on amusement park rides, mostly due to falls. However, as with many organizations that are subject to lax rules and regulations, the real number of injuries may be much higher due to a murkiness in the amount of accident reports.

In the 1980s, the federal government did wield stricter control over amusement park rides. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) had complete authority over them. However, when amusement parks voiced their concern over federal regulations, Congress passed legislation rescinding the CPSC’s control.

As rides at the nation’s largest and most popular amusement parks become even more gravity-defying and even more fear-inducing as they test the boundaries of mechanical engineering, it is time for the federal government to once again assume control over amusement parks and enact stricter safety regulations so that every child is safe. Sign the petition to voice your support for federal oversight of amusement park rides.


Dear Senator Thune,

After the death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab at Kansas’s Schlitterbahn Water Park, national attention has turned to the safety and oversight of amusement park rides. Since the 1980s, it has been in the power of the states, not the federal government, to ensure that amusement park rides and attractions are safe and that accidents and inspections are reported accurately and truthfully.

This has led to regulations that vary in terms of toughness from park to park. While some states are firm in their control, others are lax. One rule that applies to Disney World in Florida may not apply to Schlitterbahn in Kansas, which leads to loopholes, confusion, and the endangerment of visitors.

I urge you, as chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, to take action to introduce legislation that will once again put amusement parks under the regulation of the federal government. To do so would ensure that every visitor to the nation’s most popular amusement parks will never have to fear for their safety in places that are supposed to be the “happiest on Earth.”


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Futureshape

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