Halloween Hayrides: More Dangerous Than You Probably Knew

Posted on: 24 October 2016

Halloween hayrides and "haunted" farm attractions pop up every year all over the country. For a lot of small farms, they're a quick money-maker before winter settles in—but they can also be a quick road to disaster when proper precautions aren't taken. These are some of the questions you should consider.

How safe is that ride?

Most hayrides and haunted farms involve people riding in the back of an open trailer attached to a tractor or truck pull. These trailers aren't designed with Halloween attractions in mind, are heavy, are easily tipped, and don't have any safety mechanisms to keep people from being tossed around or jumping out of their seats if they get excited or scared. 

In addition, there's no way to tell when the trailer, truck, hitch, or tractor was last serviced or maintained, especially if the farmer did the mechanical work on his or her own. That gives patrons no real guarantee that this heavy equipment taking them through the fields is actually even safe. 

For the most part, hayrides and other seasonal farm attractions are poorly regulated. There are no federal regulations at all, and states generally don't require the same licensing from haunted hayrides that they do from other carnival rides. In some states, like Tennesse and Texas, there are even specific exemptions that allow hayrides to permit normally forbidden activities—like allowing riders in an open-bed pickup or to go without seatbelts.

Who is in charge of driving?

In addition to the potential for equipment failures, you have to contend with the risk that the driver of the truck or tractor is poorly trained on its operation. If the hayride is operating during extended hours, there may be temporary volunteers or employees involved that aren't as familiar with the equipment or fields. In addition, they may be driving through the field quickly, with the intent to add a little extra excitement, which could cause them to hit a bumpy area too fast or take a turn too sharply, sending passengers flying out of their seats or tipping over the entire flatbed.

What do you do if you're injured?

Injuries from hayrides can be catastrophic. Like any other trucking accident, the sheer weight of the vehicles alone can be devastating to the human body. For example, in Maine, one accident alone killed a teen and injured 22 other riders. An attorney can help you identify who might be responsible for the accident and help you recover for your losses, at least financially, through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. It may be possible to sue the owner of the farm, the various business entities the farm operates under, the driver of the ride, and anyone who did mechanical work on the truck or other equipment used in the ride.

For more information about your specific situation, talk to a truck accident attorney in your area, such as those at Scherline And Associates.