It was a tragic death that should never have happened. Petty Holdings employee Gary Terry was a passenger in an Italian sports car on the exotic driving course at the Walt Disney World Speedway, traveling at high speed in the opposite direction the track’s safety features were originally designed for. The car slid out of control and into one of the guardrails which went right through the side of the car and into Terry, killing him.
Terry was the operation manager of the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World, which means the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was empowered to investigate the crash scene. OSHA did, in fact, determine that Petty Holdings was responsible for the accident. Petty Holdings could have reduced the danger by properly constructing guardrails, adding impact barriers at the ends, and running cars in the direction the track was designed for. If that had happened, it’s likely this death would not have happened.
So what was the fine for this safety violation? Only $7,000. Hopefully Petty Holdings learns from this tragic crash, but $7,000 isn’t exactly a motivating sum. I don’t know what to say other than it should never have happened if just some basic common safety steps had been taken.
The good news is that this type of accident won’t happen again at Disney. The resort has demolished the Walt Disney World Speedway to make way for additional parking for the Magic Kingdom.