When Rosy Esparza, 52, of south Dallas was killed while riding the Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington in July 2013, it created considerable concerning regarding the safety of amusement park rides throughout Texas. As a Dallas-Fort Worth personal injury attorney, I believe that the public is right to be worried. The thrill ride industry is insufficiently regulated in Texas, and serious accidents will – and do – occur as a result.
One of the leading causes of amusement park injuries according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) is human error. This is largely attributable to inexperience ride operators who have not received adequate training before they are entrusted with the lives of adults and children riding the rollercoaster or other ride.
Ride operator distraction is a particular problem at major theme parks throughout Texas such as Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Sandy Lake in Dallas, Joyland Amusement Park in Lubbock, Kiddie Acres in Austin, Wonderland Amusement Park in Amarillo, Kemah Boardwalk near Houston, or Six Flags Fiesta Texas, SeaWorld Adventure Park, Kiddie Park, or ZDT’s Amusement Park in San Antonio. Many times, staff at these parks are teenagers or college students who find themselves distracted by text messages or Facebook updates on their cellphones when their full attention should be on the safe operation of the ride they are entrusted with.
Unfortunately, the operator negligence problem appears to be a continuing concern as amusement parks continue to hire unqualified and inexperienced employees to work their rides. This cost-cutting initiative results in corners being cut on safety. On many rollercoasters, for example, there are no staff manning the loading and unloading of passengers, which could easily result in a safety oversight with has catastrophic or even fatal consequences.
Other leading causes of accidents associated with operator behavior include:
- improper training
- improper operation
- improper or faulty maintenance
- inadequate security
- failure to shut off
- improper installation
- ride does not stop completely before unloading begins
- cars stop short of the platform
When you hire the board certified personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at the Anderson Injury Lawyers to help you with your amusement park accident case, we will thoroughly review the training of the ride operator who may be to blame for your injuries, as well as the amusement park’s hiring process – including whether or not appropriate drug and alcohol screening tests were given.
In many cases, ride operator negligence is just one factor to be considered, so we will conduct a thorough investigation into the overall safety of the ride on which your accident occurred. Many times, amusement park operators are also guilty of inadequate maintenance, and factors such as mechanical failure and design defects may also be to blame.