House Bill No. 267

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act regulating operators of amusement rides; describing the responsibilities of passengers and operators of amusement rides; providing for the assumption of risks by passengers; and providing for injury reports."

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

NEW SECTION. Section 1.  Definitions. As used in [sections 1 through 5], the following definitions apply:

(1) "Amusement ride" or "ride" means 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.

(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 get on the ride;

(b) entering or getting on an amusement ride;

(c) using an amusement ride;

(d) getting off or exiting an amusement ride; or

(e) leaving the immediate vicinity of an amusement ride.

NEW SECTION. Section 2.  Operator's responsibilities. An operator shall:

(1) exercise reasonable care to ensure the safety of passengers in constructing, erecting, maintaining, operating, and supervising amusement rides; and

(2) ensure that there is an adequately staffed first aid station and a location for reporting injuries and accidents.

NEW SECTION. Section 3.  Passenger responsibilities and prohibitions. (1) A passenger may not:

(a) use an amusement ride knowing that the passenger has insufficient knowledge or physical or other ability to use the ride safely. A passenger who is unfamiliar with the operation of a ride shall ask an operator or employee for assistance and instruction.

(b) 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;

(c) throw or drop an object from or in the direction of an amusement ride;

(d) fail or refuse to comply with the instructions of an operator or employee operating or supervising an amusement ride;

(e) act in a manner that could interfere with the safe operation of an amusement ride or with the safety of a passenger;

(f) steer, control, or otherwise operate an amusement ride in a manner that might harm another person;

(g) disable or attempt to disable any safety or restraining device;

(h) alter or enhance the designed speed, course, or direction of an amusement ride;

(i) operate or attempt to operate amusement ride controls designed to be operated only by an employee operating the ride; or

(j) 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.

NEW SECTION. Section 4.  Assumption of risk. A passenger who is 13 years of age or older is conclusively assumed to have knowledge of the risks and assumes the risks associated with amusement rides if those risks are open and obvious to a reasonable person.

NEW SECTION. Section 5.  Injury reports. (1) (a) A passenger who is injured on or by an amusement ride shall report the injury to the operator within a reasonable time unless the nature of the injury prevents the passenger from doing so, in which event the passenger shall, if possible, report the injury to the operator not later than 90 days after the injury. The report must include:

(i) the passenger's name, address, and phone number;

(ii) a brief description of the injury and how it occurred; and

(iii) the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of known witnesses to the injury.

(b) Failure to report within 90 days limits the damages recoverable by a passenger from an operator or employee to actual medical costs.

(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.