Tech Update – July 2013

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

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.

Changes in Curriculum and Fees Coming in 2014

  • New Curriculum: In 2014, we will launch a newly revised curriculum. The student manual is completely updated, geared to adult learners and organized so you can easily find what you need. The new full-color manual will be released in concert with a number of online resources, including videos and other tip sheets.
  • Course Fees: On January 1, 2014, certification course fees will increase from $75 to $85. This modest adjustment, the first since 2009, will cover the cost increases for customer service, printing, shipping and fuel surcharges, and making improvements to the online system.
  • Recertification Fees: Recertification fees will remain at the current level. We recognize and appreciate that many of you provide safety seat inspections on your own time, and we made it a priority to keep those fees unchanged.

Traffic Safety Facts Annual Report

Fatal crash data from FARS and nonfatal crash data from GES are presented in this five-chapter report.

  • Chapter 1, “Trends,” presents data from all years of FARS (1975 through 2011) and GES (1988 through 2011).
  • The remaining chapters present data only from 2011. Chapter 2, “Crashes,” describes general characteristics of crashes, such as when and how often they occurred, where they occurred, and what happened during the crash.
  • Chapter 3, “Vehicles,” concentrates on the types of vehicles involved in crashes and the damage to the vehicles.
  • Chapter 4, “People,” is the largest chapter of this report, with statistics about drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and pedalcyclists.
  • The last chapter of the report, “States,” contains information about crashes for each State, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.


Lives Saved by Electronic Stability Control

In 2011, electronic stability control (ESC) saved an estimated 634 lives among passenger car (PC) occupants and 411 lives among light truck and van (LTV) occupants, for a total of 1045 lives saved among passenger vehicle (PV) occupants. This estimate of lives saved is a substantial increase over the estimated 876 lives saved in 2010 and the estimated 705 lives saved in 2009. Read more at

Taking Time to Educate Grandparents

Researchers often provide us with information that may help us influence the caregiver at our fitting stations or check-up events to modify some of their behaviors in protecting their children. This is an example of how we can apply what is learned during research to our curbside communication with families, especially grandparents.

In a recent study, “Grandparents and Child Passenger Safety,” published in Accident Analysis and Prevention, researchers wanted to compare child passenger safety (CPS) practices of grandparents versus parents and determine grandparents’ opinions on car safety seats, barriers to use, and ways to transport grandchildren safely. A total of 1758 parents transporting 2713 children, and 284 grandparents transporting 391 grandchildren were included in the study.

While most drivers were buckled up and used car seats, almost 25% of parents and grandparents chose the incorrect seat to transport the child, and greater than 68% had at least one harness-related error. Grandparents were more likely to have looser lower anchor straps or seat belts and have children younger than 13 years in the front seat.

The focus group of grandparents had a favorable attitude toward child safety seats. They acknowledged the need for their grandchildren to ride buckled up but believed that car seats were hard to use. They also may have had physical barriers (e.g., arthritis, back pain, mobility, decreased strength, and vision problems) to installing and using car seats.

Both grandparents and parents were equally likely to choose and use appropriate child safety seats. Compared to parents, grandparents were more likely to travel with their grandchildren in car seats installed with looser harnesses or an installed CSS with looser seat belt or lower anchors. Grandparents were more likely to have a child younger than 13 years in the front seat. The use of community resources, such as permanent fitting stations, could help grandparents improve a grandchild’s travel safety.

To learn more about this study, review the abstract at[]=citjournalarticle_393975_19.

Source: Grandparents and child passenger safety. O'Neil J, Bull MJ, Slaven JE, Talty JL. Accid. Anal. Prev. 2012; 49C: 354-359.

Submitted by Kim Herrmann, Safe Kids Worldwide (Ft, Myers, FL).

12,849 Lives Saved in 2010 by Seat Belts and Child Restraints

In addition to the 12,546 lives saved in 2010 by seat belts (occupants age 5 and older), 2306 lives were saved by frontal air bags (occupants 13 and older); 1550 lives were saved by motorcycle helmets; 550 lives were saved by the 21-year-old-minimum-drinking-age laws; and 303 lives (age 4 and younger) were saved by child restraints (child safety seats and lap/shoulder belts).

An additional 3341 lives would have been saved in 2010 if all unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants 5 and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts; if all motorcyclists had been helmeted, then an additional 706 lives would have been saved.

More details are in NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Facts: Lives Saved in 2010 by Restraint Use and Minimum Drinking Age Laws, February 2013.


Vehicles and Their Safety Features Guide Now Available

NHTSA’s new booklet called “Playing It Safe with Kids and Cars” includes an extensive list of vehicle makes and models and their safety features, guidelines for choosing the right car seat, an explanation of NHTSA’s ease-of-use ratings to help parents evaluate car seat features, tips for installing car seats properly, and warnings about the dangers in and around vehicles.

Read more and download the Guide at

Conferences (includes Pre-conference Dates)

  • Kidz In Motion
    • Location: Santa Ana Pueblo (Albuquerque), New Mexico
    • Dates: August 26-29, 2013
    • For more information:
  • Maine Child Passenger Safety Conference
  • Midwest Regional Child Passenger Safety Conference
    • Location: Council Bluffs, Iowa
    • Dates: September 9-10, 2013
    • For more information: THOMPSB3@IHS.ORG

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 April–June 2013

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Last updated: 31 October, 2013

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.