Amusement parks are supposed to create a fun and relaxing atmosphere for people of all ages. However, what happens when there is an accident and people are injured while they are on an amusement park ride? Though rare, these tragedies do occur. Just recently an 11-year-old girl from Pleasantville, NJ, Abiah Jones, was killed after falling 160 ft. from the top of a Ferris wheel in Wildwood, NJ. The Ferris wheel was in motion and Abiah was in the car by herself when she fell. Her parents are now saying they believe amusement parks need to install more safety regulations, in particular, lap restraints on Ferris wheels. However, Will Morey, president of Morey's Piers where Abiah died, disagrees.
Amusement parks are regulated and inspected based on individual state or local municipality arrangements. Since there are no set guidelines, it is possible that amusement parks are not been inspected thoroughly and could pose a great danger to its riders. There is no site, either, that tracks exactly how many amusement park accidents occur annually, and where they happen. If there was, it might be easier to set regulations and monitor particular amusement parks depending on their history of safety.
In Abiah Jones's case the Ferris wheel was in compliance with New Jersey's amusement park regulations. All of its safety procedures were in place and if properly seated, a passenger was not going to fall out. Since there were no witnesses, police are assuming that Abiah was standing and leaning over the cart, rather than sitting as passengers are instructed to do. Even so, Abiah's parents are trying to get New Jersey to impose regulations that would make lap belts or restraints mandatory for this particular ride. Jones's father Byron said, "Click it or ticket. You have to wear a seat belt in a car. You're 150 feet in the air," referring to the Ferris wheel.
Since the accident, New Jersey's Department of Community Affairs implemented two new requirements for Ferris wheels. The first is that children must be at least 4 ft. 6 in. to ride. This regulations was already in effect at the site of the accident. The second requirement is that there must be a minimum of two riders per car. The Wildwood pier agreed to comply, but insisted extra restraints are not necessary. The Department of Community Affairs has not made extra restraints necessary at this time.
Amusement park rides can be very dangerous if they aren't properly inspected and regulated. If you have been injured on an amusement park ride, it's important to assess your surroundings and realize what caused the accident. After you have tended to your injuries, don't hesitate to call our experienced lawyers at White and Williams. We serve accident victims in all areas of Pennsylvania and New Jersey and always offer a free consultation. 1-877-944-8396.