Rollercoasters aren't nearly as deadly as we thought. New research suggests that even the fastest, tallest coasters don't pull enough gees to cause brain-damage.
On Oct. 1, New Jersey became the first state to limit the G-forces of amusement-park rides. Proposed legislation would subject roller-coasters to federal oversight.
Smith and colleague David Meaney examined data from three rides with high G-forces: the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Fla.; Speed – The Ride at the NASCAR Cafe in Las Vegas; and Face/Off at Paramount's Kings Island near Cincinnati.
They found the coasters produced accelerations to the head that were one-ninth the force required to cause torn blood vessels in the brain and one-eighteenth the force required to cause brain swelling.