PRESS RELEASE-FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Charles McDonald

DATE: August 17, 2007 PHONE #: (617) 727-7775 ext. 25542

 

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY ORDERS SIZZLER RIDES TO CEASE OPERATIONS

BOSTON-The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety today ordered all owners and operators of Sizzler amusement devices manufactured by Wisdom Industries, Ltd. a Colorado company, to immediately cease operation of Sizzlers until adequate seat belts have been installed. The order comes in the wake of a Service Bulletin dated August 1, 2007, received by the Department on August 16, that recommends the installation of seat belts on the Sizzler to prevent patrons from being ejected from the ride's seats. Owners were notified of the directive and ordered to immediately cease operation of the Sizzler in a letter sent by Commissioner of Public Safety Thomas G. Gatzunis and posted on the Department's website.

The Department has been tracking incidents throughout the country which have occurred on the Sizzler resulting in injury to patrons. Over the past 10 years, at least 9 separate incidents resulting in injury have occurred on this ride. In April, a 7 year old boy in Arkansas was killed when he was thrown from the ride during operation.

"Pursuant to the regulations governing the operation of Amusement Devices in the Commonwealth, which are written and enforced by the Department, owners are explicitly required to comply with any safety related manufacturer's recommendations," said Commissioner Gatzunis. "My highest priority is the safety of patrons on these rides. I am adamant that ride operators make it their highest priority as well, which is why I have taken the action of suspending Sizzler operations until seat belts are installed."

The service bulletin issued by Wisdom stated that the recommendation to install seat belts was made because "during the past several years there have been incidents of patrons coming out of their seats in the Sizzler." The company informed Sizzler owners that seat belts and instructions for the proper installation of the seat belts are available to all owners through Wisdom.

The Department's order not to operate Sizzler rides remains in effect until the proper installation of adequate seat belts has been performed by the owners. Commissioner Gatzunis stated in the letter to owners that the failure to comply with the order may result in the revocation of the owner's license to operate amusement devices in the Commonwealth.

The Department of Public Safety oversees and regulates amusement devices throughout the state; licenses owners; and inspects and grants permits for individual devices in amusement parks, carnivals and go-kart facilities, as well as large and small inflatables rented frequently for town fairs and private parties. During 2006, DPS issued 124 licenses and inspected 3,368 individual devices.