If you’ve always just assumed there must be someone in charge of making sure those traveling carnivals have safe rides, you’re right. It’s our friends at the CPSC. Trouble is, they don’t actually have even one person whose full time job it is to ensure the safety of such rides, says the Washington Post.
The agency’s 90 field investigators — who oversee 15,000 products, work from their homes and live mostly on the East Coast — are so overstretched that they frequently arrive at carnival accident scenes after rides have been dismantled.
As a result, critics say, supermarket shopping carts feature a more standardized child-restraint system than do amusement rides, which can travel as fast as 100 mph and, according to federal estimates, cause an average of four deaths and thousands of injuries every year.
The article gives the “Sizzler” as an example of a ride that probably needs better safety measures, due to children being ejected from the ride. The CPSC has not required ride manufacturers to update any safety measures in 8 years. After a meeting last year on the Sizzler’s troubled safety record, the agency asked only that ride operators pay “greater attention to safety.” It also asked the ride’s manufacturer to provide seat belts, but did not require them to do so or check to see if they did.