Tyre Sampson Act signed into law, changes rules for Florida rides

Law meant to increase attraction safety

ORLANDO, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed a bill into law that would make changes to amusement rides in an effort to increase safety and prevent another tragedy like the death of a teenager on an Orlando attraction last year.

DeSantis signed the Tyre Sampson Act, SB 902. The law is named for the 14-year-old tourist who fell to his death from the Orlando FreeFall attraction at ICON Park in 2022.

The free-standing drop tower, which took guests up into the air before dropping over 400 feet at 70 mph, has since been dismantled.

The legislation includes requirements for a seat belt and harness for any ride that goes over 100 feet and for all rides to be regularly commissioned, certified and tested by a separate regulatory agency.

[RELATED: Orlando FreeFall death one year later. Here’s where things stand | Tyre Sampson remembered 1 year after fatal plunge from Orlando FreeFall]

In addition, amusement ride operators would have a certain timeframe to report if there was an accident and the state could reserve the right to impound it if necessary.

The bill would also allow the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to conduct unannounced inspections for specific purposes.

The bill was filed by State Sen. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, after an investigation into Sampson’s death last year found that sensors were manually adjusted in the seat Sampson was in, making the ride unsafe and allowing the harness’ restraint opening to be “almost double,” according to a report.

The new law will take effect on July 1.

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Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.