Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law


Tobias Butler

First Page



This note explores the history of amusement park attraction regulation, including both the legislative and judicial treatment, and highlights the deficiencies in court approaches in light of "common carrier" law. First, is a brief history of thrill attractions in America as well as regulation of these attractions by both the legislature and judiciary. Specifically it will discuss the major approaches courts have taken in applying or refusing to apply the "common carrier" definition to these attractions. Second, it will analyze why any standard less than "utmost care" does not provide sufficient power for the courts to create a consistent standard that can regulate operator behavior and expectations. It will also explore the inadequacies of warnings and information about the ride that is provided to guests prior to boarding. Finally, it will suggest that the courts adopt a heightened standard that is balanced by a more liberal application of the contributory negligence defense. In order to improve rider information and decisions, it suggests creating a nationalized ratings system with more accurate descriptions of the forces and health risks associated with all attractions to create more informed riders.

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