Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina lawmakers have filed a bill to increase the fines and penalties on amusement ride operators who don't follow state safety standards.
"The bill derived from the incident that happened at the State Fair," said Rep. Ted Davis, R-New Hanover, the measure's primary sponsor.
In 2013, an accident with a ride known as The Vortex sent five people to WakeMed. Investigators later determined that safety devices on the ride had been tampered with.
The operators of the ride face fines and criminal charges. However, Davis said, barring an accident in which someone is hurt, ride operators face only "a slap on the wrist" if they're found to be violating the law.
Davis' bill raises the penalties on several infractions related to operating amusement rides. For example, the penalty for someone found to be operating without state-mandated safety controls in place would rise from $1,000 per day the ride is operated unsafely to $10,000 per day. The bill also creates a new felony for harming someone with a ride that has been illegally operated.
A similar measure was part of a large criminal omnibus bill that contained dozens of changes to state law last year. However, it was dropped from the final version of that measure, which eventually passed.