Thursday, June 15, 2006
Regulators gone wild
Thanks to overzealous state regulators in the Texas Department of State Health Services, six foot high dives are becoming a thing of the past in Texas. Some pools are being forced to remove diving boards that have been in use for decades (and without causing any serious injuries in that time).
The new laws are in administrative codes setting new slope and depth requirements for public pools to have diving boards. Sounds reasonable, until you really look at the real world effects: almost no existing pools meet the requirements.
What the heck is happening to our society? We have become so risk averse (probably a reaction to overlitigiousness in the 1970's to 1990's) that we don't want to allow our kids to have any fun.
When I was a kid growing up in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, I spent many a summer day at the city swimming pool. Back then, it had a twelve foot high diving board (a terrifying height to a kid in second grade). I can remember my first jump off that board -- the thrill, the exhilaration, the hard smack of the water off my head and shoulders when I did my first head-first dive. It was one of those childhood moments one remembers for a lifetime.
The gurus in the Texas bureaucracy want to take that away. They say it's not safe. Someone could get hurt. They point to a Washington lawsuit in which a plaintiff successfully sued a pool manufacturer. The man was paralyzed after diving into a backyard swimming pool.
I sure hope nobody tells the Texas Department of State Health Services that people can drown in public swimming pools. I'd hate to see a new regulation banning the use of water in public pools.