Data Source Summary

Sources of Accident Records


The Saferparks Database contains approximately 15,000 amusement ride accident reports from 30 agencies, primarily state jurisdictions. Years covered, equipment types included, reporting criteria, and level of detail provided vary widely by jurisdiction.

Three states (New Jersey, California and Texas) provided more than 80% of the accident reports in the Saferparks database. This is due to a confluence of factors: the unusually high number of amusement parks and carnivals that operate in those states; strong consumer laws that require, at a minimum, public reporting of all medically-treated injuries; and good government practices that make public safety records available on request. (If Florida did not exempt theme park companies from compliance with mandatory accident reporting laws, its reports would account for a far larger slice of the pie.)

  • New Jersey broadened its reporting criteria during the years 2000-2002, requiring that ride owners report even first-aid injuries as part of an expanded focus on analysis and prevention. Note the increase in reports for those years and the subsequent reduction in injuries over the following years.
  • The Saferparks database has only a partial record for California's rides in 2007-2008. Portable ride accident reports are available through Spring 2007. Permanent ride accident reports are available through Fall of 2007 for Northern California parks and Fall of 2008 for Southern California parks, with the exception of any late reports submitted to regulators after Saferparks' records requests were processed.

Record Counts by Year, State and Industry Sector

The following charts show a tally of public accident reports provided to Saferparks by U.S. ride safety agencies. Listing record counts by state and year illustrates the extreme variability in the data made available through public records requests, and the significant gaps in collection. You'll notice that the bulk of the data covers years 1999-2007.

The final chart shows the relative volume of records divided between industry sector. The category "Recreation" includes a variety of commercially operated amusement-related devices that are more participatory in nature than standard amusement rides. Examples are inflatables (jumpers, slides, etc.), challenge courses, and go-karts.

For more information, see the Regulatory Agencies page.