Michigan evaluates carnival ride safety less than other states - WNEM TV 5

I-Team Report

Michigan evaluates carnival ride safety less than other states

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Carnival rides travel. They're put up and torn down all around the state from one festival or fair to another. One loose bolt, a few creaky joints, and it can turn child's play into a horror story for kids.   

"If it would to come loose I would freak out. I'd have to come up there and get her myself," said Marjorie Faye, grandparent.

Michigan is among only a few states that don't require a state inspection at every set up and tear down. In fact, a state inspector puts each ride to the test only once a year.   

"Well, we looked at it, but that means there's a chance that something has happened since we looked at it," said Mark Doman, an official with state carnival/amusement safety.

The state relies heavily on self inspections by a certified employee of the ride company. He or she is required to check out each ride each day.  

The rides are inspected, but injuries do happen. There are about 25 carnival ride injuries in Michigan a year.

"We do a daily inspection. We have a daily inspection sheet that each operator must fill out before we put a ride in service every day. Each ride is mechanically checked, we go through all the fine details of the ride operation, checking all safety precautions, making sure all height signs are in place," said Andrew Preston, employee at Big Rock Amusements.

Common things found during inspections are small, loose screws or upholstery needing repair.

"They've been riding them for a couple hours now and having a ball. They're inspecting them every so often, so they're pretty safe," said Lorenzo Goodwin, parent.

The state insists their guidelines are sufficient.

State reports show more than 80 percent of carnival accidents are the fault of the rider.

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