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The danger of thrill rides: Are they unsafe?

  • 52-year-old Rosy Esparza fell to her death while riding a roller coaster at 'Six Flags Over Texas'
  • We talk to experts in the industry about how rides are manufactured, regulated & whether they really are unsafe
  • Watch 'HLN After Dark' tonight at 10 p.m. on HLN

So just how safe are roller coasters and other thrill rides? Several people die each year on these rides, but many incidents and injuries don't attract national attention.

Poll: Are thrill rides unsafe?

Following the tragic death of a woman who fell from a roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas, many parents and amusement park enthusiasts are wondering if these rides really are too unsafe and if they can be trusted. There is no federal oversight of fixed amusement parks, such as Six Flags, but instead, state governments are responsible for keeping parks up to current safety guidelines and standards. Currently, 44 out of 55 state governments regulate fixed amusement parks. The six states without state government oversight are Alabama, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). An analysis by the National Safety Council, there were more than 1,200 ride-related injuries in 2011.

Tonight on HLN After Dark, we're breaking down the amusement park industry and going behind the scenes of roller coasters and thrill rides. Are these rides actually unsafe, or are these types of accidents very rare occurrences?

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