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The risk of unregulated hayrides

People often complain about too much government regulation. Many activities sometimes seem to be regulated to the point where there is not much enjoyment left. When you have to call your attorney to review a 5-page "hold harmless" agreement to engage in some sports or recreational activity or event, it can drain some of the fun out of it.

In the fall, going out on a weekend and picking pumpkins or visiting an apple orchard in rural New Jersey can make for a fun time with the family. Some locations may also have additional activities, such as a corn maze or hayrides.

Sadly, sometimes, lack of regulation can take more than the fun out of an event. 

In most states, hayrides are outside of most regulation, with the exception of Rhode Island, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This lack of regulation may have contributed to the accident that led to the death of a 17-year-old girl who died in Maine this month.

She was riding with a large group of people on a wagon being towed by a jeep. As it attempted to negotiate a steep hill, the jeep was unable to stop and the wagon crashed into a tree. The girl died of head injuries suffered in the crash.

This tragic accident may have been due to the 1979 jeeps brakes either failing or being inadequate for weight the vehicle was towing.

While regulation does not create an absolute guarantee of safety, as people will ignore some regulations, lack of clear guidance can allow mistakes and negligence to cause injuries and, as in this case, death.

ABC News, "Maine, most other states don't regulate hayrides," Patrick Whittle and Alanna Durkinm, Associated Press, October 13, 2014 

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