Florida among states that lead the nation in fair ride safety

Fair rides undergo rigorous inspections
Posted at 6:33 PM, Feb 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-05 19:50:03-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Action News consulted state and national officials and Florida is among the states that lead the nation in state fair ride safety.

RELATED: Your go-to guide for the 2018 Florida State Fair

Jonathan Brooks is sleeping very little lately. He and his crew are charged with inspecting the 100 plus rides at the Florida State Fair.

They just got done clearing a roller coaster called the  Zombie Apocalypse .

Donald Sheppard helps oversee that ride and said as always inspectors were very thorough.

“They checked to make sure all cars were properly together. Everything was tight. The bearings were good,” said Sheppard.

Sheppard has traveled the country for more than 30 years working the fair circuit. He said when it comes to safety rules and regulations, Florida is among the toughest. 

“They do their job and they do it thoroughly. They go through every ride every nook and cranny,” said Sheppard.

Doris Faults another vendor said she has also witnessed how seriously inspectors take their jobs. She’s been a vendor for nearly a decade.

“They are here all day and all night,” said Faults.

ABC Action News made some calls and Florida does have stricter guidelines.

We found many states only require an annual check, but in Florida the rides go through rigorous inspections for each event. 

Florida even banned a ride call the Fire Ball.

The thrill ride made national news after a tragic incident in Ohio this past summer.

RELATED: Riders ejected from attraction at state fair in Ohio, 1 dead

Investigators found excessive corrosion led to a malfunction killing an 18-year-old and injuring seven others.

While Florida officials can not recall fatality, they do want to limit risks especially considering these startling statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

In 2016, nearly 30,900 people were sent to the ER after injuries from fair attractions.

22 have died since 2010. Inspectors are working overtime to keep those numbers down.

“I think it's safe. I feel it's safe,” said Faults.

The Florida State Fair opens on Thursday.

The 12 day event is expected to draw more than 500,000 people.