DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A tragedy in Kansas City and two other ride accidents this week have some fair-goers feeling uneasy this summer.
Thus, CBS11 dug in to see who’s in charge of the popular thrill rides.
The Texas Department of Insurance oversees fixed parks like Six Flags and mobile carnivals. Operators must have a $1 million insurance policy per ride and also an annual safety inspection through the insurance company.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission does have some oversight on portable rides such as those traveling carnivals. They help develop voluntary safety standards, conduct investigations and can issue a safety bulletin in the event of a defect.
But attorney Frank Branson, who has represented injured riders and their families, says that’s not enough.
“We have been unimpressed by the quality of inspections done by an insurance company under the direction of the state board of insurance,” he says. “I’ve just seen too many families who have lost a loved one.”
At the State Fair of Texas, Senior Vice President of Operations Rusty Fitzgerald says they’re already inspecting rides and go above and beyond regulations by hiring their own inspectors, before and during the fair.
” We check everything from padding to lap bars, everything that makes it work underneath. We also check the electronics of it, make sure everything is working properly,” he says. “If they’re not 100 percent, they don’t go.”
Safety experts say look for a compliance sticker on every ride, and make sure it’s current. Branson says he hopes tragedy leads to change.
“They really need to have extra attention, extra safety,” he says.
Click here to read the 45-page amusement park ride injury report for Texas during the last 5 years.
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