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HOUSE BILL NO. 396
INTRODUCED BY G. MASOLO, S. ROSE, E. CLARK, T. HAGENER, D. HEDGES, S. KITZENBERG, D. MAHLUM, J. MCKENNEY, W. MCNUTT, K. OHS, B. PAVLOVICH, B. REHBEIN, J. WITT
AN ACT REGULATING OPERATORS OF AMUSEMENT RIDES; DESCRIBING THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF PASSENGERS AND OPERATORS OF AMUSEMENT RIDES; AND PROVIDING FOR INJURY REPORTS BY PASSENGERS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Purpose. The legislature finds that:
(1) amusement rides are used by a large number of Montana's citizens and attract a large number of nonresidents, significantly contributing to Montana's tourism industry and tax base;
(2) the safety of the public using amusement rides is an important matter of public policy;
(3) there are inherent risks associated with the machinery, equipment, or animals that are impracticable or impossible for an amusement ride owner or operator to eliminate with all reasonable safety precautions;
(4) an informed patron is in the best position to avoid risks inherent to amusement rides; and
(5) the safety of amusement rides will be greatly improved at minimal cost if riders are subject to minimum safety standards for their own protection and the protection of others.
Section 2. Definitions. As used in [sections 1 through 5], the following definitions apply:
(1) "Amusement ride" or "ride" means a movable, portable, or nonpermanent structure that features or employs a mechanical, aquatic, or other device or attraction that carries passengers over a fixed or restricted route or that operates in a fixed or restricted area, primarily for the passengers' amusement. This definition applies to amusement rides that are set up and operate in any location in Montana for not more than 30 days.
(2) "Operator" means a person, business, or other entity that owns, leases, manages, or operates amusement rides.
(3) "Passenger" means a person:
(a) waiting in the immediate vicinity of an amusement ride to board the ride;
(b) entering or boarding an amusement ride;
(c) using an amusement ride;
(d) getting off or exiting from an amusement ride; or
(e) leaving the immediate vicinity of an amusement ride after getting off or exiting the ride.
Section 3. Operator's responsibilities. An operator shall:
(1) exercise reasonable care in constructing, erecting, maintaining, operating, and supervising amusement rides to ensure the safety of passengers;
(2) ensure that there is an adequately staffed first-aid station and a location for reporting injuries and accidents. For the purposes of this section, one adequately staffed first-aid station and a single location for reporting injuries and accidents on a site where multiple operators are grouped in a fair or carnival formation are sufficient.
(3) ensure that when supervising or operating a ride, the operator or an employee of the operator is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and
(4) post in a conspicuous place on the amusement ride grounds an easily readable sign that lists the passenger and operator responsibilities and prohibitions contained in [section 4] and this section, as well as additional language or another sign near the entrance to each ride that includes:
(a) operational instructions, if any;
(b) safety guidelines for the ride, if any;
(c) restrictions on the use of the amusement ride, if any;
(d) behavior or activities that are prohibited, if any; and
(e) the following statement: "State law requires riders and passengers to obey all warnings and directions for this ride and behave in a manner that will not cause or contribute to injury to themselves or others. Riders must report injuries before leaving the premises".
Section 4. Passenger responsibilities and prohibitions. (1) A passenger may not:
(a) enter or exit an amusement ride except at a time and place, if any, designated by an operator or employee and in the manner and under the supervision of an operator or employee;
(b) throw or drop an object from or in the direction of an amusement ride;
(c) fail or refuse to comply with the instructions of an operator or employee operating or supervising an amusement ride;
(d) act in a manner that could interfere with the safe operation of an amusement ride or with the safety of a passenger;
(e) disable or attempt to disable any safety or restraining device;
(f) alter or enhance the designed speed, course, or direction of an amusement ride;
(g) operate or attempt to operate amusement ride controls designed to be operated only by the operator or employee operating the ride; or
(h) use an amusement ride when under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the point that the ability of the passenger to safely use the ride is diminished. An operator or employee may prohibit a person from using or continuing a ride if the operator or employee reasonably believes that the person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the point that the person's ability to safely use or continue the ride is diminished.
(2) A passenger shall follow warnings and other information posted by or orally given to the passenger by an operator or employee.
Section 5. Injury reports. (1) (a) A passenger who is injured on or by an amusement ride is encouraged to report the injury to the operator before leaving the amusement ride premises. The passenger shall if possible, not later than 6 months after the injury, report the injury to the operator or to the owner of the premises where the amusement ride was located at the time of the injury. The report must include:
(i) the passenger's name, address, and telephone number;
(ii) a brief description of the injury and how it occurred, including the date, approximate time, location, and amusement ride upon which the injury occurred; and
(iii) the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of known witnesses to the injury.
(b) The operator shall provide to the person who was injured and who has filed an injury report:
(i) the individual operator's name, current address, and telephone number;
(ii) a brief description of the ride, the maintenance schedule for the ride, and the manufacturer of the ride; and
(iii) the names, current addresses, and telephone numbers of all known witnesses to the injury.
(2) The report must be kept by the operator for at least 3 years after its receipt and must be made available for inspection by the injured passenger or the passenger's agent during business hours.
Section 6. Codification instruction. [Sections 1 through 5] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 27, and the provisions of Title 27 apply to [sections 1 through 5].
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Latest Version of HB 396 (HB0396.ENR)
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