‘Tyler’s Law’ introduced nine months after deadly State Fair accident

NBC4 Investigates

Only on NBC4, after nine months of demanding change to prevent another fireball accident, we have answers.

Lawmakers are taking action in response to the tragic accident at last year’s Ohio State Fair that killed 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell and seriously hurt seven others.

Since the night of the accident, NBC4’s Katie Ferrell has worked tirelessly to learn how Ohio’s program operates and how it stacks up to other states, address how the accident happened, and what steps will be taken to ensure it never does again.
She’s sifted through hundreds of documents, met with victims’ families and dozens of the country’s top ride experts, traveled to New Orleans for the ride industry’s premier safety conference, went to South Carolina to get a behind-the-scenes look at how their program compares to Ohio’s, and traveled to southern Ohio to hear the safety concerns of Ohio’s largest portable ride provider.

Tyler’s Law was introduced Tuesday afternoon by Ohio Representatives John Patterson and Jim Hughes. The bi-partisan bill has an emergency clause which means if it’s pushed through, it would take effect immediately. Lawmakers hope that will happen before the next fair season, now just weeks away. They said it will save lives.

“I feel a certain debt of gratitude for Amber sharing her son with all of us and want to make sure that we honor his contributions as best we can by looking out for others,” said Rep. Patterson.

The bill calls for hiring more state inspectors, giving preference to individuals who are professional engineers.

It would require the Ohio Department of Agriculture to follow all of the voluntary safety standards set out by the industry (ASTM) and keep ride manuals on file for inspectors to study.

It also calls for fines on ride owners not in compliance and requires more detailed logs of repairs and maintenance done on rides.

“What we’re trying to do is put safeguards in to save a life,” said Rep. Hughes. “We have not taken in my opinion and others I’ve talked to, the appropriate steps to make sure that Ohioans are safe.”

“It is about protection so that all Ohioans can feel more confident about the safety of the rides,” said Rep. Patterson.

The lawmakers said they want the bill done right and fast. Because another fair season is nearly here.

“Please contact your legislators because we need to get this through because it can save a life,” said Rep. Hughes.

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