Tech Update – January 2014

Passenger Safety, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
in cooperation with Texas Department of Transportation

Up to 6 CEU Opportunity – March 11, 2014

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Passenger Safety Project will be conducting a free 6 hour CEU Tech Update in Bryan on March 11th from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. The Tech Update will also be sent out via WebMeeting to sites across the state. This year, we are using different technology called WebMeeting to avoid technical problems with video transmission. This Tech Update will count for 5–6 CEUs, depending on which option you choose for your attendance. All participants attending at remote sites will need to sign in in the morning and again after lunch.

Here are the three options on attending:

  • OPTION 1 – Attend in person in Bryan, Texas – earn 6 CEUs – In Person Category
  • OPTION 2 – Attend at a designated TxDOT District Office with a moderator – earn 6 CEUs – In Person Category
  • OPTION 3 – Attend via a personal computer – earn 5 CEUs – Online Category

There is limited seating in Bryan, where technicians can also get checked off on their installations at the end of the workshop. To register for the training, contact Bev Kellner at

Changes to FMVSS 213 Coming February 2014

Standard now applies to child restraint systems (CRS) made for children who weigh up to 80 pounds. A new 10-year-old Hybrid III dummy weighing 78 pounds will be used for testing child restraints for children weighing between 65 and 80 pounds. Also included are more realistic seating positions (more reclined) for the dummies when tested to better simulate a real child’s posture. Most notably, the new ruling will change the LATCH limits. Lower anchors can only be used if the weight of the child plus the weight of the child restraint does not exceed 65 pounds. When the child restraint plus the weight of the child exceeds 65 pounds, the seat belt must be used. The new ruling does not address the limits of the top tether. The new ruling will require new labels on child restraints with harnesses to clarify when LATCH lower anchors can be used.

The new rules will only apply to products made after the rule is effective. For a long time after the rule changes, techs will be helping caregivers with products that meet the old rules. For example, child restraint systems built in January 2014 should be used as labeled for the life of the product. Sometimes, vehicle manufacturers will tell you that products made before a new rule is required meet the new requirements. Or they’ll tell you that older products retroactively meet the new rule. Otherwise, you must follow the directions that come with the product, even if it looks exactly the same as one that meets the new rules. When new regulations are introduced, it takes a long time for the U.S. fleet of vehicles or car seats to meet them.

Traveling with Houdini

Whether it is a trip to Grandma’s or just running hundreds of errands around town, driving can be stressful—and dangerous if you are traveling with your very own escape artist.

You might relate to this situation: You are driving on the freeway, thinking of your long list of “to do’s” and wondering how you are ever going to get everything done, when suddenly your hair is yanked hard, bringing tears to your eyes. As you desperately try to find a place to pull over, you realize that once again, darling little Harry has escaped his car seat and is gleefully bouncing around the van unbuckling every child in the car. Sound familiar?

“Help, my child won’t stay buckled!” is one of the most common concerns we hear from parents. The reasons for unbuckling can range from delight in a new skill, boredom, or wanting mom’s attention to more serious issues such as behavioral or developmental delays. So what do you do?

To view suggestions from the Child Passenger Safety experts at Primary Children’s Hospital in Utah and other technicians across the country, go to: Maybe one of the suggestions will work for you. Remember, while using Duct Tape is tempting, it is never a recommended solution. Add-on products that may look as if they would work are never recommended by the child seat manufacturer. In fact, using add-ons that are not made by the CRS manufacturer is discussed in detail by each manufacturer in their instructions or user guides. Using any product not specifically approved by a manufacturer is not allowed. Use of such products voids the warranty and may impact the car seat’s ability to perform properly in a crash.

This article was adapted from an article by Marilyn Morris in Utah and posted by Primary Children’s Hospital on December 13, 2012. Special thanks for the additional tips that were provided by Allyson Fulton (PA) and Daphne Greenlee (MO).

Evaluation of the Certified-Advanced Air Bags – A New NCSA Report

The new National Center for Statistics and Analysis report analyzed the changes and redesigns of frontal air bags and their effect on occupant protection in frontal crashes. In 1998–1999, vehicle manufacturers were permitted to sled test in lieu of a barrier impact to certify that the air bags would protect an unbelted occupant (“sled certification”), which allowed air bags to be redesigned by depowering and/or reducing the volume or rearward extent of air bags. Then, in 2003–2006, air bags were required to not deploy at all for children or to deploy only at a low level of force (“certified-advanced air bags”).

Fatality risk in frontal crashes was 4 percent lower for drivers with certified-advanced air bags than with sled-certified air bags; for right-front passengers, it was 2 percent higher. At neither position is the difference between certified-advanced and sled-certified air bags statistically significant.

The fatality rate in frontal crashes per billion vehicle registration years showed a 4 percent reduction overall, 5 percent reduction for drivers, and 5 percent reduction for child right-front passengers 12 and younger, after vehicles were equipped with certified-advanced air bags. None of these rates were statistically significant.

Overall, the analysis found no evidence that certified-advanced air bags result in higher fatality risk to front-seat occupants in frontal crashes when compared to sled-certified air bags.

Seat Belts Required on Motorcoaches

Beginning in November 2016, newly manufactured buses will be required to be equipped with lap and shoulder belts for each driver and passenger seat. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today issued a final rule requiring lap and shoulder seat belts for each passenger and driver seat on new motorcoaches and other large buses. This new rule enhances the safety of these vehicles by significantly reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries in frontal crashes and the risk of occupant ejection in rollovers.

“Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to reducing the number of deaths and injuries on our roadways,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Today’s rule is a significant step forward in our efforts to improve motorcoach safety.”

On average, 21 motorcoach and large bus occupants are killed and 7,934 are injured annually in motor vehicle crashes, according to NHTSA data. Requiring seat belts could reduce fatalities by up to 44 percent and reduce the number of moderate to severe injuries by up to 45 percent.

“While travel on motorcoaches is overall a safe form of transportation, when accidents do occur, there is the potential for a greater number of deaths and serious injuries due to the number of occupants and high speeds at which the vehicles are traveling,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “Adding seat belts to motorcoaches increases safety for all passengers and drivers, especially in the event of a rollover crash.”

“Buckling up is the most effective way to prevent deaths and injuries in all vehicular crashes, including motorcoaches,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Requiring seat belts in new models is another strong step we are taking to reach an even higher level of safety for bus passengers.”

This article is a direct excerpt from

Conferences (Includes Pre-Conference Dates)

BuckleUp NC Conference
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Dates: March 24–26, 2014
For more information:

Lifesavers Conference
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Dates: April 26–29, 2014
For more information:

Earning CEUs Online – New Online CEU Opportunity

Provided by: The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Passenger Safety Project

Many technicians cannot afford to be away from their job to attend in-person CEU sessions. Earning CEUs online is one way to meet the requirements from the comfort of your own home with no added expense. If you have an Internet connection, you can complete the courses at your own pace when you have time. Up to five CEUs earned online can be used towards the six CEU re-certification requirement.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Passenger Safety Project is offering five online tech update courses that will provide 1 or 2 CEUs each. It is the online version of the Tech Update Workshop offered by Passenger Safety on April 9, 2013, in Bryan and across the state via video conferencing. The course, titled Tech Update 2013, Parts 1–5, is available at: Simply register and get started earning your five online CEUs and staying current in the field at no charge.

The sections include:

  • Part 1: “Myth Busters” and “What’s New in Child Safety Seats”
  • Part 2: “New CRSs and Unique Features”
  • Part 3: “LATCH, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”
  • Part 4: “New Trends in Vehicle Technology”
  • Part 5: “Case Study: Growing Up Healthy, Wealthy and Wise”

Other online CEU opportunities can be accessed by logging into your technician profile at Once logged in, scroll down under your ACTION ITEMS and select ONLINE CEUs.

Still need to earn one more CEU to make your six required CEUs? Just read two Tech Updates and take the associated quizzes. They are available at You can also earn 1 CEU by reading three peer-reviewed journal articles. More links and options are available online.

Re-Certification Reminder

NEW!! The Safe Kids website now has a special FAQ section dedicated to seat checks (for recertification). Go to

You may re-certify up to four months before your certification expiration date. Avoid problems—don’t delay!

Basic re-certification requirements and deadlines:

  • Five seat checks approved by a certified instructor (you may use the technician proxy option). You can do the checks at any time during your certification cycle as long as they are entered online and a certified instructor approves them before your re-certification date.
  • Community education (choose one):
    • Participation in at least one two-hour checkup event with at least one other CPS technician using any standardized checklist to provide documentation, if needed.
    • Provide at least four hours of community education. Examples include making presentations to parents, educators, kids, organizations (such as PTAs or law enforcement), or other stakeholders who are not technicians.
  • A minimum of six hours of CPS technical continuing education units earned and reported during a current two-year certification cycle.
    • You cannot carry over CEUs from one period to the next, even if you have accumulated more CEUs than are required.
    • You can record CEUs any time during your certification cycle, but they must fit into one of the five approved categories and meet content requirements.
  • Register and pay the re-certification fee before your certification expiration date.

To get to the payment screen, you must have:

  1. Completed all five seat checks (entered and CPSTI approved).
  2. Entered at least six CEUs.
  3. Entered your community event information.

Once all three are done, you will see a “Click Here to Continue” button that will take you to the payment screens.

Once your registration is complete, your re-certification will be processed in two to four days.

Remember to Update Your Online Profile at the Safe Kids Website

Safe Kids Certification Website –

Techs can log in to update their profile and enter re-certification information. Please remember to change your bookmark to reflect this new address.

Sources: CPS Express November 2013–January 2014

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Last updated: 31 January, 2014

Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status.