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Governor signs law setting new safety rules for amusement rides

Two years ago at the Ohio State Fair, an amusement ride malfunctioned, killing one person and injuring seven others. Now, Ohio has "Tyler's Law," a statute intended to increase safety standards following the catastrophic 2017 accident.

During the 2017 fair, a gondola on the Fire Ball ride broke loose from its supporting framework and flung riders into the air and onto the ground. Tyler Jarrell was killed in the accident, and seven others were seriously injured. The bill just signed by Governor DeWine is intended to strengthen safety inspection standards and raise qualifications for ride inspectors. The law also clarifies standards of premises liability for the owners and operators of such rides.

The new law will require state officials to adopt an amusement ride classification system that will identify the types of rides deemed to be most dangerous and to require more detailed and comprehensive inspections. The law provides that inspectors with national certifications be given preference in hiring. The law also increases the number of required inspections and more detailed inspection and maintenance records to be kept by ride operators. The new law also requires ride owners to share with the state's chief inspector safety notices issued by the ride's manufacturer. The law also provides additional funding to be used to hire more inspectors.

Determining liability for deaths or injuries caused by defective or poorly maintained amusement rides can be difficult. The machinery that comprises the ride itself may be owned by one person or entity and then leased to another firm or individual. Maintenance might be provided by another entity. Anyone who has suffered an injury or lost a loved one in an amusement park ride may need to get more information about their legal options.

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