Enforcement tools are needed in ‘Tyler’s Law’
Ohio lawmakers have taken necessary measures to strengthen safety inspection standards for amusement rides, and the move is important for residents who want to be able to enjoy themselves at our fairs and festivals without the worry of a dangerous malfunction. It should not be the last step.
“Tyler’s Law” is named for 18-year-old Marine recruit Tyler Jarrell, who was killed when a ride named the “Fireball” broke apart on opening day of the 2017 Ohio State Fair. Seven other people were hurt when that happened. The bill was passed Oct. 23 — over two years since that tragedy.
Investigators blamed excessive corrosion in a steel support beam, which should have been caught before tragedy struck.
Now, the safety standards define qualifications for ride inspectors and outline ride owner responsibilities. They provide for a professional engineer on the state panel that makes recommendations about safety matters involving amusement rides.
That is an important change, but what will it mean for enforcement of those standards? What will it mean for options available to inspectors who spot a problem? What penalties are in place for amusement ride operators who incur violations?
Improved standards are one thing, but more enforcement tools are needed.
Jarrell’s family was present at the signing of Tyler’s Law, and it is important to honor him in making these improvements to the law. He must not be forgotten in following through on the intent to make amusement rides safer for everyone.