It has been seven months now since the Xcelerator ride at Knott’s Berry Farm was shut down after two persons were injured in an accident. Cal OSHA officials have thoroughly investigated the ride and now confirm that it is safe to operate and the ride will reopen on May 3, 2010. On the other hand, could Knott’s have avoided this accident altogether?
As A California Injury Lawyer, we think so, and State inspectors agree that with a more thorough inspection schedule, this accident would never have occurred
In addition to Knott’s Berry Farm being nearly three weeks overdue for the ride’s inspection. This can be common among large ride concessionaires, as we have learned through our representation of clients in our capacity as a California injury lawyer . As noted in other cases, Intamin AG, the rides manufacturer was found equally culpable due to the fact that they supplied unclear inspection instructions. Knott’s maintenance claims that their need for further explanation of routine maintenance was ignored by Intamin.
Intamin has been implicated in other cable accidents such as the Cedar Point Dragster and the Six Flags Tower of Power ride where a 13 year old girl lost both feet. However, even though the cables were manufactured by Intamin, the major fault in both cases was placed on the park’s poor maintenance.
KBF’s accident occurred on September 16, 2009 just after the train had left the station. The cable snapped from normal wear and unfortunately, a 12 year old boy suffered leg lacerations and another man complained of back pain.
The Amusement Park industry is a highly lucrative and competitive business that last year had estimated revenues of $11.5 billion. The majority of the larger parks are dominated by large corporations and they are not regulated by the federal government. HR 2320 has been stalled in congress and if passed, would close a huge loophole that allows federal safety oversight in a majority of the country’s major theme parks.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission figures, amusement park serious injuries have doubled over the ten years. Approximately 100,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for amusement park injuries. It’s not surprising that half of all injuries and ¾ of all falls and ejections involve children under the age of 13.
Since California has such a high concentration of theme parks, its officials conduct yearly, 3-part inspections of every amusement park ride. This includes unannounced inspections, safety record audits, and observation on whether the ride operators are enforcing safety rules.
Even with these inspections, it is important that parents monitor their children in these parks to ensure a safe day. Here are a few safety tips:
· Keep your head facing forward at all times during fast/wild rides. Studies have shown that some neurological injuries can occur by turning your head at the wrong moment. (Change of direction or acceleration).
· Obey height and weight minimums and maximums. The park isn’t trying to punish younger children but they do care about safety. Talk to your children about the consequences of bad behavior.
· Point out safety features such as seatbelts, lap bars, grab bars, and warning signs. Explain how the safety equipment works, and what its purpose is. Parents should pay close attention to rides that use a single lap bar for multiple riders, as this presents a special hazard to young children. Single lap bars are designed to fit closely against only the largest passenger in the car, leaving smaller riders unprotected.
. For a complete list of safety tips, visit saferparks.org/.