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AB 1652 takes a comprehensive approach to promote increased safety for skiers and snowboarders

(Sacramento) - Today Assemblymember Dave Jones (D-Sacramento) announced the introduction of Assembly Bill 1652. This bill takes a comprehensive approach to promote increased safety for skiers and snowboarders by requiring better signage, accident and injury reporting, and helmet use for kids and resort employees.

California has 32 largely unregulated ski resorts. There are no requirements concerning posting of signs related to ski slope conditions, boundary warnings, or known hazards. Data regarding injuries or fatalities occurring at ski resorts is only aggregated nationally by the ski industry associations; therefore consumers are unable to get information about the overall death and injury statistics or the relative safety performance of individual ski resorts.

Numerous recent studies have found that traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of injury-related death among skiers and snowboarders, and children in particular are at higher risk. A 2008 study conducted by University of Washington professor Peter Cummings concluded that the use of helmets could reduce the risk of serious injury in up to 60 percent of all accidents. Additionally, skiers and snowboarders who crashed or fell had a 15 percent reduction in the risk of any head injury if they were wearing a helmet.

"While tragic accidents at California's ski resorts are, fortunately, not common, we know we can do more to protect the safety of ski resort enthusiasts and workers," said Jones. "Requiring helmet use for workers and kids, having a clear safety plan, posting adequate signs warning of possible dangers and changing conditions are the tools we need to put in place to ensure the safety of those enjoying California's mountains. I am pleased to be working with the California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization to craft comprehensive legislation to put these important protections in place."

Assemblymember Jones was joined by Dr. Dan Gregorie, founder of the California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization (CSSSO), at the event in the State Capitol to announce the introduction of AB 1652.

"Accidents happen, but when injuries and deaths occur that could potentially be avoided, that's when the Legislature needs to investigate what can be done," said Dr. Gregorie. "Skiers and snowboarders now travel as fast as cars. If highway safety is a priority, then why not ski and snowboard safety? One life lost to a preventable accident is one life too many. It's time something is done to hold ski resorts more accountable and make uniform signage, adequate barriers and proper traffic and speed management part of everyday safety practices."

Website of Assemblymember Jones: www.asm.ca.gov/jones

Here are links to audio of Assemblymember Jones:

Assemblymember Jones says talks about the need for ski resort safety legislation. (1:02) mp3

Assemblymember Jones says AB 1652 is based on scientific studies. (:24) mp3

Assemblymember Jones says children are the ones who most need to wear helmets when snowboarding or skiing.(:26) mp3

Contact: Kayte Fisher (916) 319-2009