State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Flagged by report, ride safety officials promise transparency

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 27, 2013 10:23 PM

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

State officials say they're addressing problems with record-keeping on amusement ride inspections.

Rep. John Maher (R-Allegheny) chairs the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, which heard testimony last week from officials promising an overhaul to the state database on ride safety.

"While Pennsylvania's program of amusement ride inspections has a terrific safety record and seems to be well-regarded generally, the clerical aspect of it's been in pretty bad shape," Maher said, adding that he's confident the problems at the state level have more to do with streamlining data collection than actual ride inspections.

Officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which oversees the safety program, said last week that, in the course of the website overhaul, they plan to make inspection data more accessible to the public.

"Every Pennsylvanian will be able to go on a website, click a little icon on a map, call up the amusement park you're interested in, and see up to date inspection reports - just as you can do now with restaurant reports," Maher said.

This past summer, the online news outlet PublicSource reported missing ride inspection records that should have been submitted to the state as well as a decline in inspection staff.

Officials running the state's Amusement Ride Safety Program said there's no evidence the less-than-stellar record keeping in the past put amusement park visitors in danger. They said the planned website overhaul will cost taxpayers as much as $50,000.

Published in State House Sound Bites

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