The purpose of this Bulletin is to inform municipal, county, and state law enforcement officials of their important role in the enforcement of the Amusement Ride Safety Inspection and Insurance Act (Act), Occupations Code Chapter 2151, and compliance requirements of amusement ride owner/operators, specified in 28 Texas Administrative Code §§5.9001 - 5.9014.
Right to Enter and Inspect
A municipal, county, or state law enforcement official may enter and inspect without notice any amusement ride at any time to ensure public safety. Upon request, the operator of the amusement ride must immediately provide to the law enforcement official a copy of the records of the annual inspection of each ride; proof of an in-force liability insurance policy for each ride; quarterly reports made to the Department within the last two years concerning an injury or death resulting from an amusement ride and any government action taken against a ride; and records of daily inspections of mobile amusement rides for the past year. An unexpired Texas Amusement Ride Compliance sticker issued by the Department of Insurance (Department) should be affixed to each ride in operation. An inspection of each ride must be made on an annual basis, and a new certificate of inspection sent to the Department, accompanied by proof of in-force liability insurance for the ride.
Immediate Prohibition of Operation
A municipal, county, or state law enforcement official may immediately prohibit operation of an amusement ride if:
- The operator is unable to produce a current certificate of inspection for the ride. Prior to operation, as part of the inspection process, an owner/operator must obtain for each ride a completed certificate of inspection bearing a Department certification stamp and serial number, indicating compliance with mandatory amusement ride safety inspection requirements and liability insurance requirements.
- The operator is unable to produce proof of an in-force liability insurance policy. The owner/operator is required to maintain proof of an in-force liability insurance policy for each ride in the amount specified by the Act.
- The operation of the amusement ride appears to be unsafe or the safety of a passenger on the amusement ride appears to be threatened. Grounds include the unsafe conduct of an operator of an amusement ride or of a person assembling a mobile amusement ride, or any other circumstance causing the law enforcement official to reasonably believe the amusement ride is unsafe or the safety of a passenger is threatened. An amusement ride on which an injury or death occurs cannot be operated until a new inspection in conformance with the Act is performed.
Additional Requirement for Mobile Amusement Rides
The operator of a mobile amusement ride must perform and record daily inspections of the mobile amusement ride and keep the records for a year.
The Act also provides for criminal penalties (Class B misdemeanors) for failure to maintain documentation of amusement ride inspections, insurance, and injury reports; failure to stop the operation of a mobile amusement ride after a fatality until compliance with post-fatality inspection requirements is demonstrated; and failure to post a sign informing the public in English and Spanish how to report unsafe conditions or apparent violations of the Act.
Municipalities are encouraged to consider reasonable measures to provide protection to their residents such as the adoption of municipal permitting, local registration, or other notification requirements for the operation of an amusement ride. Municipal, county, and state law enforcement officials are also encouraged to regularly conduct surveillance of amusement rides sites and inspect rides within their jurisdiction.
Additional information and further requirements, restrictions and conditions for the lawful operation of an amusement ride can be found in the Act and 28 Texas Administrative Code §§5.9001 - 5.9014. This bulletin is not meant to substitute for the advice of competent counsel in your jurisdiction.
Questions regarding the operations of amusement rides should be directed to Richard Baker, Inspections Division, Texas Department of Insurance, 512-322-2259.
Commissioner of Insurance