Here’s what to know about roller coaster safety after 2 recent scares

After two recent incidents at amusement parks, a look at roller coaster safety and regulations is called for.

Incident recap: Last week, a roller coaster at Carowinds Amusement Park in Charlotte, North Carolina, was shut down due to a reported crack in one of the ride’s supports, and eight passengers at the Forest County Festival in Crandon, Wisc., were stuck for hours due to a mechanical issue.
* In North Carolina, a patron took a video of a crack in a roller coaster’s supports.
* In Crandon, Wisc., mechanical problems caused a ride to halt, stranding eight passengers upside down for several hours.

How it works: Roller coasters and other amusement park attractions are regulated differently in every state.
* Fixed-site amusement parks are regulated by states and routinely inspected according to guidelines by ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials.
* Mobile amusement attractions, like carnival rides, are overseen by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, but states still conduct routine inspections.
* Nevada and Wyoming have no regulations for amusements in fixed-site parks, though most operators voluntarily comply with standards.

By the numbers: According to IAAPA, there are 0.9 injuries per million rides and in a typical year, more than 385 million guests take over 1.7 billion rides at approximately 400 North American fixed-site facilities.
* CPSC says there were 34,700 injuries on amusement attractions between 2017 and 2019. There have also been several fatalities over the years, though rare.

Safeguarding operations: Safety measures are taken by park staff, state regulatory officials, third-party inspectors, and insurance companies.
* Each ride is frequently inspected to ensure its condition and operation align with ASTM International’s standards.
* These standards cover all aspects of amusement rides and devices, from design and manufacture to installation, testing, operation, and associated documentation.

What matters: Safety on some rides depends heavily on the riders.
* Some rides require the individual to follow specific rules for their safety, such as holding onto handlebars on a waterslide or following the correct path on a go-kart course.
* When guests adhere to these rules, the standard result is a safe ride.

View original article on NPR

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