Florida Claims Strict Inspections of Carnival Rides Paying Off

Nov 19, 2008

Claims Journal–November 19, 2008

With the fall festival season in full swing, Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson is drawing attention to all safety rules and regulations posted at carnivals and fairs.

Statistics show that patron error accounts for an average of about three quarters of all accidents reported; the rest are mechanically related or the cause is undetermined.

Customers can do the most to keep carnival safe by following the posted safety rules.

But state inspectors are doing their part to prevent injuries as well.

Bronson said Florida has one of the strictest fair ride inspection programs in the nation and he believes the ride owners and operators are doing a better job of assembling, inspecting and maintaining the rides as a result of his department’s inspections. The department reported that its 15 ride inspectors performed over 10,000 amusement ride inspections in Florida last year.

Since 1997, the number of amusement rides on which deficiencies are found, on first inspection, has decreased from approximately 60 percent to about 44 percent, according to Bronson. Ride deficiencies include such conditions as: any mechanical, structural or electrical problem, expired insurance or permit, out of date testing, or incorrect assembly of the ride. All deficiencies found on an amusement ride must be corrected before that ride is allowed to open for public use.

The Department’s Bureau of Fair Ride Inspections is responsible for inspecting amusement rides at temporary events (fairs, carnivals and festivals) and permanent amusement facilities (go-kart parks and water parks) for structural and operational integrity. Florida has about 188 permanent amusement parks and more than 183 traveling amusement companies. All traveling amusement rides are permitted once a year, but each amusement ride must be inspected each time it is set up and must pass inspection prior to being open to the public. Rides at permanent amusement facilities are inspected and permitted twice each year.

Source: Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner