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AG Nikki Fried introduces ride safety draft in Florida

Photo courtesy ICON Park
Photo courtesy ICON Park

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is looking to make amusement parks safer. Fried introduced an initial draft of legislation Wednesday that would create a framework for ride safety across all amusement parks in the state. 

She said this legislation is in response to the death of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson, who fell from the drop tower at ICON Park. "Our investigation is still ongoing," Fried said. "And we want to be sure any legislation we propose reflects the full results of investigation once it has been completed.”

The framework includes increasing safety signage posting and maintenance reporting requirements, more employee training, requirement for safety sensors, and a better accident reporting system. 

Fried also wants to add a Ride Commission and Certification department, along with a new amusement ride monitoring program. She said current statutes exempt large theme parks, like Disney, from this kind of oversight.

She said this framework is based on the investigation into Sampson’s death, which is still ongoing. “When accidents occur, often it's because many contributing factors happen at the same time to create this perfect storm," she said. "Our goal here was to identify the issues that caused that perfect storm in Tyre’s case and work to prevent them from ever occurring again."

She says investigation into Sampson’s death is still ongoing. "And we want to be sure any legislation we propose reflects the full results of investigation once it has been completed,” Fried added.

After a brief stint as Morning Edition Producer at The Public’s Radio in in Rhode Island, Talia Blake returned to WMFE, the station that grew her love for public radio. She graduated with a double-major in Broadcast Journalism and Psychology from the University of Central Florida (Go Knights!). While at UCF, she was an intern for WMFE’s public affairs show, Intersection. In her spare time, Talia is an avid foodie and enjoys working out.