One of the main attractions at the New Jersey Shore in the summer are the rides at the boardwalk and amusement parks; however, these rides are also where accidents can happen. Many riders are injured while on the rides due to inadequate maintenance and inspection of these rides. Another reason riders are injured is because they do not follow the directions and warnings given by the ride operators.
The New Jersey Division of Codes and Standards, a part of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), governs ride safety in amusement parks and carnivals to ensure the safety of these rides for the public pursuant to the Carnival and Amusement Ride Safety Act. NJAC 5:14A-1.1 – 5:14A-13.5. The Act lays out responsibilities of the rider, owner and manufacturer while riding or operating rides. The Act is divided into 13 Subchapters. Only a couple subchapters of interest will be discussed in this article. The entire act can be found on DCA’s website at: http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/codes/codreg/pdf_regs/njac_5_14A.pdf
1. Rider Responsibility
Subchapter 3 addresses the responsibility of the rider. The Act basically says that a rider shall comply with the written warnings and directions posted by the operator of the ride, which include rider conduct signs; height, weight and size restrictions. § 5:14A-3.2 It also states that if a rider is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage, prescription drug or other controlled substance, he/she shall not board the ride. § 5:14A-3.3
2. Owner Responsibility
Subchapters 2 and 4 discuss the owner’s responsibility. Prior to a ride being open to the public, the DCA requires the owner and manufacturer of the ride to submit documentation for review regarding all carnival and amusement rides. These documents result in an annual inspection and permit to operate the ride in New Jersey. Further, the rides are inspected by DCA prior to the ride is open to the public.
Other than annual inspections by DCA, the owner must inspect and test the ride on each day of intended use. The inspection and test shall be made by a qualified person experienced and instructed in the proper assembly and operation of the device and shall be performed before the ride is put into normal operation.
So what does that mean for you as a rider? Make sure you read ALL of the warnings and ride requirements/restrictions. Do not rely on the ride operator to enforce requirements such as the height requirement. If you have young children with you who do not meet the height requirement, do not let him or her get on even if the ride operator lets them.
If you or a family member have been injured on an amusement park ride, it is vital that you speak to a qualified, experienced New Jersey/Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer. The team at White and Williams has the expertise, knowledge and experience in handling ride accident injury cases. We serve accident victims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and always offer a free consultation. 1-877-944-8396.