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Tyler's Law aims to keep fair attendees safe on amusement rides this summer

Posted at 6:13 AM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 14:58:28-04

MANTUA, Ohio — Fair season is here, and as the pandemic caused many fairs to keep their gates shut last year, this is the first time carnival operators will have to abide by Tyler’s Law.

Back in November 2019, Gov. DeWine signed Tyler's Law — legislation to improve the safety and operation of amusement rides for Ohioans.

“For almost all failures of all engineered structures, all manmade things fail because they fatigue. They wear out,” said Jennifer Carter, Faculty Director of the Swagelok Center for Surface Analysis of Materials at Case Western Reserve University.

A horrific accident led to serious changes at fairs and amusement parks here in Ohio.

Tyler's Law is named after Tyler Jarrell, who was killed when the Fireball ride at the Ohio State Fair broke apart in 2017.

“I hope that everybody's concerned about that and everyone should be held to those standards,” said Megan Miller, who was attending the St. Joseph’s of Mantua Ox Roast Fair in Northern Portage County Sunday evening. “They should all have to be inspected.”

The legislation modernizes safety inspection standards, laying out a minimum number of inspections per year, depending on the type of ride, and requiring ride owners to keep track of all inspections.

“It's providing an avenue for the consumer to ask the operator, ’Where is your paperwork? Where is your proof that you followed the manufacturing guidelines for the inspections?’” Carter said.

David Collica, another fair attendee and a mechanical engineer, says increasing oversight is what’s best for the public.

“I think each ride should have an annual preventative maintenance program and auditors can go in and also do surprise audits to make sure that they are being followed and that operators are, you know, safe and the machines and the rides are put together,” Collica said.

According to the state’s division of amusement ride safety and fairs, riders can look for permit decals on rides and also file public record requests for inspection and compliance certification reports.

“I would like to know that they're safe and that they've been inspected for sure,” Miller said.

The state’s program is designed to make sure only the most qualified inspectors are chosen to perform those investigations.

Carter said inspectors are with “the American Society for Testing and Materials. These are a group of professional engineers that have sat down and said this is what we need to do to test, to make sure materials that we use in consumer products are safe for our consumers.”

Collica says with all the new requirements for ride operators, he’s not too worried about letting his child ride.

“I grew up riding these rides all my life and there were probably fewer laws active, so with more laws being enabled and all that, I feel like my kid’s safe on them,” he said.

RELATED: Here's your guide to 2021 Northeast Ohio county fairs

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