When Roller Coasters and Other Rides Open At A Theme Park Next Month, They Won’t Have To Undergo Any State Safety Inspections - Amusement Park Attorney Weighs In
According to news sources, state officials in Florida agreed to spare Lego Land Theme Park from safety oversight due to the fact that it qualifies for a 22-year exemption that was initially written into Florida law for Walt Disney World and other theme parks. Accordingly, this will make Lego Land the fourth park owner in Florida to operate free of state ride safety regulation. The others are noted to be Walt Disney Company, NBC Universal, Sea World, and Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay. A Lego Land spokesman noted that “Within our industry, it is common practice for theme parks to govern themselves as far as ride inspections go."
Under Florida law, if a theme park has a minimum of a thousand employees, they are exempt from the state inspection and permit requirements. Florida law requires exempt parks to employ full time in-house safety inspectors and to file affidavits with the state certifying that each of the rides has been inspected.
As an experienced amusement park and theme park accident attorney who has investigated and prosecuted a good number of amusement park accidents involving catastrophic injuries and death, I question the validity or integrity of the amusement park industry claims that they have proper motivation to take safety precautions due to the fact that negative publicity creates a public backlash which affects their profitability and stress that the state should focus on traveling fairs or carnivals rather than larger theme parks that are more sophisticated. Director of Maintenance of Lego Land stated that the parks in-house inspections will go well beyond what would otherwise be conducted by the state and he is quoted as saying, “I think we have more expertise. We surpass what the state is asking as far as inspections." Lego Land also claims that it will contract with a third party recreational engineering company that will conduct certain types of tests and submit required documentation to the state.