Are Arizona State Fair rides safe? - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Are Arizona State Fair rides safe?

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PHOENIX - It's something most fair goers think about when they get onto fast and thrilling rides.  Somewhere in the back of their minds is the question -- is this ride safe and can something go wrong?

Officials at the Arizona State Fair take this seriously.  There are a lot of rides that spin or leave you hanging upside down and there's actually no state agency regulating them, but officials tell me that doesn't mean they aren't safe.

"I don't get on carnival rides," said Glen Sanders.  "When I was young, I helped a carnival put them together and they held on by pins."

There's more than 70 rides at the state fair, but unlike many other states, Arizona doesn't have a state agency responsible for inspecting the rides.

"I just want to make sure there are safety regulations in place so they are checked and that they are as safe as can be," said fair attendee Brandi Smith.

State fair officials insist all the rides are safe.  The fair hires an independent contractor to inspect all the rides, even though the law doesn't require it.

"We come in two weeks before the fair starts so we get to see the amusement rides as they are set up completely.. they come in on the trailers and we see every single part as they go up," said fair inspector Barry Schaible.

Arizona law says ride owners have to get rides inspected by someone experienced and educated in amusement ride inspections only once a year.  But Schaible randomly checks rides every day and he says that goes above and beyond what many state laws require.

"If you are in a state that has a ride inspection and they are not looking at them every time they set up there's a problem," he said.

At this state fair, it's more than the fear of heights and speed than safety keeping ticket holders away.

"That's my last ride today.. I'm not getting on.. no more.  I've got about five more," said fair attendee Lydia Armstrong.

And when it comes to federal law, there's no government agency that enforces safety standards on rides.  Amusement parks and state fairs have the choice -- then to self-regulate -- like the Arizona State Fair does.
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