Kansas made important strides last week in the effort to make amusement park rides safer.
A House committee held two days of hearings on a bill that would tighten inspection requirements for amusement rides. The legislation was introduced following the tragic death of Caleb Schwab at the Schlitterbahn Water Park last year.
The bill would require an annual inspection of permanent rides by a qualified inspector. Temporary rides would need to be inspected 30 days prior to use. The proposal also tightens insurance requirements for rides and record-keeping standards.
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Some ride operators and members of the Legislature said lawmakers should avoid “undue” regulation of amusement rides. We see nothing in the bill, sponsored by the Committee on Federal and State Affairs, that would make it unreasonably difficult or expensive to operate rides safely.
Minor amendments may be in order, but the state House and Senate should put the bill on the governor’s desk before adjournment.
We remain concerned about oversight of amusement ride design. Rides might be maintained and operated correctly, yet still be dangerous because of how they were constructed.
Congress should hold hearings on amusement ride design standards and oversight. A federal review of ride design remains an important goal.
There can be no excuse for another tragedy like the one at the Schlitterbahn park.