State regulators increase safety measures as fair season opens

MEMPHIS, Tenn. --Big changes are on the way for the Delta Fair regarding safety and security.

This comes a year after an incident on a ride called the Moonraker, where dozens of people said they were thrown from the ride.

However, recent changes on the local and state level should lead to safer rides for families heading to the fair.

The operators of the Delta Fair are hoping for a much smoother ride this year.

They're bringing in a new ride company and with it, some additional safety measures.

This includes more inspectors and inspections.

Tennessee law requires traveling rides to be inspected three months prior to operators requesting a permit.

Matt Snyder is the Director of Safety and Emergency Services for the Delta Fair, he says their new protocol goes beyond that.

"They will be inspected on our grounds after they`ve been set up, before they`re allowed to run," explained Synder.

Synder says there will be additional inspections throughout the duration of the fair as well.

"They will inspecting every ride every day."

Federal regulators blamed the Moonraker incident on operator error.

A report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission revealed the Moonraker was about to finish a ride cycle when a "shutdown fault light" went off.

One of operators somehow hit the button that opened the safety bars, when he was supposed to be manually lowering the ride, because of the malfunction.

According to the report, the worker had less than 10 hours of operating experience.

Synder says inspectors will also be watching the ride operators.

"They`re going to make sure that the ride operator`s competent and running his ride, also to make sure that he can communicate well with his passengers, our guests and make sure he knows the exact procedures if an emergency happens."

The state is also making some changes to help with safety.

New compliance officers will be on the lookout for illegal operators and rides.

The officers are currently training to become certified inspectors, but will mainly act as a secondary layer of protection after 3rd party inspections are completed.

The state has also established a 24-hotline for operators to report accidents.

State regulators are also requiring a decal be placed on every ride that serves as proof of inspection.

Will new state law mean safer rides?

Synder says all of these steps should mean a better visit to the fair for area families.

"We want to, our guests to rest assured that we`re doing everything humanly possible to make sure that they have a safe, fun experience."