The Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) estimates that just under 350 million individuals visit theme parks in the United States each year. Another 85 million visit water parks. While virtually every one of these venues has an in-house crew that regularly inspects equipment for safety, accidents still occur.
According to the IAAPA, the risk of a amusement park visitor suffering a serious injury that will land them in a hospital overnight is one in 24 million. Another study conducted by the Nationwide Children's Hospital found that an average of just under 4,500 children are seen each year in emergency rooms for injuries they suffer at theme or water parks.
Many may assume that these incidents occur because design engineers try to push the limits too far in designing higher, faster, scarier or bigger rides. Although they may work hard to minimize safety risks, their design and operations is often so complex that it's inevitable that errors will occur.
Early ride designers who worked for Disney helped to pioneer ways to make rides that would appeal to the masses. Special effects were relied on to keep riders safe.
Some common ways designers would space ride vehicles is by shutting off the propulsion systems. They'd also install block zone systems to keep cars from running into one another.
Many of these same designers also created programs that the ride would default to in case it failed and protocols to be followed to minimize the risk of something equally catastrophic from happening once again. It's because of these extra steps that serious accidents are relatively rare.
When accidents do occur, they most often happen on either whirling rides or roller coasters. They often happen because of rider misconduct. In most cases, a passenger either stands up or leans when they're not supposed to or doesn't remained buckled in.
In recent years, there have been many new stories in which improperly maintained equipment or operator error has led to amusement park visitors' severe injuries. If you've been hurt on someone else's property, then you'll want a Pomona premises liability attorney that has decades of experience to represent you and your interests.