Florida Regulations on Amusement Ride Maintenance
In many cases, the thrill of amusement parks comes from the way in which rides seem dangerous without actually putting the rider in danger. At least this is the way it is supposed to be. Unfortunately, at some venues the danger can be all too real. Whether it is through an isolated act of negligence by an operator or technician or through a systemic policy of cutting corners on maintenance and safety in order to trim costs, dangerous amusements can lead to tragedy.
The need to provide legal rules for amusement park safety should be self-evident. That is why Florida legislatures have adopted uniform standards for ride safety in Section 616.242 of the Florida Statutes. Violations of these standards can not only lead to government-imposed sanctions but can also provide a strong basis for civil liability should an accident occur as a result. Section 616.242 states that:
- All operating amusement rides must be inspected annually by a licensed professional engineer or other qualified inspector.
- Amusement operators must maintain insurance or post a bond against potential liability of up to $1 million per occurrence and prove to the licensing authority they have done so.
- With certain exceptions, amusements must undergo nondestructive testing for metal fatigue on an annual basis.
- In addition to other required inspections and tests, all rides must be inspected annually by an inspector from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.
- With some exceptions, temporary amusements must be inspected by the Department every time they change location.
- Operators must report all accidents resulting in hospitalization to the Department within four hours.
- Operators must conduct their own inspections and testing daily prior to beginning operation and must keep written records of said inspections for at least 14 days.
- Operators must keep training records for every employee authorized to operate or service each ride.
An experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney can closely inspect all relevant records to determine if any of these regulations were violated.