State Ride Inspections May not be Trustworthy
After the Ohio State Fair ride accident this July, news organizations, states, and safety organizations have begun to dig into how rides are inspected and whether those investigations are trustworthy. The Ohio State Fair spinning ride collapse occurred after inspectors had already inspected and approved the ride, but it collapsed on the first day of the fair. The tentative cause of the collapse is rust and corrosion – but wouldn’t state inspectors have found something as obvious as rust? As it turns out, the processes behind state ride inspections may not be as sophisticated or as trustworthy as you might think.
Some States Don’t Track Failed Ride Inspections
The Ohio State Department of Agriculture is responsible for ride inspections throughout the state. This include amusement parks, and fairs like the Ohio State Fair. The department was asked by new organizations for records and statistics on how many rides fail inspections. However, the reporters were told that the Department does not actually keep track of how many rides fail. If they don’t keep track of this, what else aren’t they tracking?
In order to ensure proper safety, the state’s records of ride malfunctions is important. Tracking which rides fail inspections is vital to ensuring safety. Without these kinds of records, rides may fail, then face reinspection, and be sent back into service without extra investigation into the original failure. If a ride was previously rejected for being too rusty or corroded, then a subsequent inspection said the ride was fine, it is difficult to tell if anything was done to correct the original error, or whether the second investigator was simply less strict.
Some states are better about their tracking systems. Not only do they keep track of when a ride fails or passes inspections, but they assign a license number to each ride. Then, even if the ride travels out of state or changes owners, they can track that specific ride’s history inspection history.
Ride Inspections May Not Track Across States
Looking into the Ohio State Fair accident has brought to light some other problems with ride inspection records: they’re hand-written. Not only are these records not digital, they’re not even well-written. Reporters looking into the Ohio Department of Agriculture said that they saw hand-written forms with notes at the bottom for what needs to be corrected. These don’t sound particularly formal – and losing one piece of paper could mean losing all record of the ride’s inspections.
Other states are modernizing, and moving toward using digital records. Many states digital records mean that the record will last from year to year, ensuring better tracking of dangerous rides. It could also mean states could more easily send records to other states, allowing inspectors to collaborate and ensure safety across state lines.
Inspection Records in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you were injured in an amusement park or fair ride accident, getting records of the inspection are important. Many times, inspections will list problems that need to be corrected before the ride is put back into service. Other times, they will show that a ride had a history of failed inspections before a single passed inspection. These records can help point to what the exact cause of the accident is, and whether inspectors were negligent in allowing the ride into service.
Clear and concise records help you prove your case when you go to court. With hand-written notes, it may be impossible to track down the problems that lead to an inspection failure, or if the ride ever failed inspections. With digital records, the cause for an inspection failure would be listed clearly, and would be accessible for years to come. Paper records may be lost or misfiled – if they are kept at all.
Our amusement park accident attorneys have experience handling amusement park injury cases. We understand how different states handle records and inspections, and may be able to find records of safety issues by contacting officials and experts who previously examined the ride that injured you.
Amusement Park Injury Lawyers
You may be entitled to substantial compensation if you were injured after a negligent ride inspection. Call (215) 709-6940 today for a free consultation with our amusement park injury lawyers.