Thrill-ride accidents spark new demands for regulation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – In some parts of the U.S., the thrill rides that whirl kids around are checked by state inspectors before customers climb on. But in other places, they aren’t required to get the once-over.

A boy’s death on a Kansas water slide and a Ferris wheel accident that injured three girls in Tennessee have focused attention on what experts call an alarming truth: Regulation varies greatly by state.

The industry has lobbied against federal oversight for decades. The Consumer Product Safety Commission doesn’t regulate rides at permanent parks. It oversees only traveling carnival rides. Even then, federal investigators respond only after accidents.

Whether a ride has to be inspected before thrill-seekers hop on depends on what state it’s in. Mississippi, Alabama, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming and Utah have no laws at all requiring inspections.