Texas School Buss Passing Law
School Bus Safety

Austin Independent School District announced it would begin outfitting its school buses with stop arm cameras. The cameras are intended to catch drivers who illegally pass school buses – when a bus’s stop arm is extended, a passing car will trigger the camera, which records snapshots of the vehicle and its license plate.

This technology isn’t cheap. Dallas County Schools has been the subject of criticism for spending millions more than it anticipated to outfit buses with stop arm cameras. When NBC 5 News questioned DCS President Larry Duncan in 2014 about the financial projections, he said, “One, you’re focusing on money. We have provided the student safety increase we — that we were after — and that’s the most important thing.”

The Scope of the Problem

According to Texas Transportation Code Sec. 545.066, when a school bus has …

Furniture Tip Over Accidents
Furniture & TV Tip-Overs

Budget-conscious parents may appreciate the availability of inexpensive, assemble-it-yourself furniture. It’s lightweight and fairly easy to transport; however, it may pose a threat to small children.

Every two weeks, a falling piece of furniture or a television kills a young child. Often, curious youngsters climb on furniture or try to reach something above them, causing the furniture to fall. Parents may be unaware that even a 30-inch-tall dresser could seriously injure or kill their children – it’s not just tall bookcases that cause these types of accidents.

To raise awareness of how tip-over accidents occur and how they can be prevented, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently launched its “Anchor It!” campaign. The Anchor It! website shows through pictures and video how tip-overs can occur in a matter of seconds. It also includes information about how parents can anchor televisions …

Rubber Turf
Crumb Rubber Turf

On many playgrounds and sports fields nationwide, artificial turf has replaced natural grass turf. It’s easier to maintain, requires no water, and it may reduce the blunt force of a fall. But some people have begun to wonder if artificial turf poses health risks.

The turf combines green fibers with infill – bits of loose material interspersed in the fibers that make the surface resilient. The most widely used infill is crumb rubber made from recycled tires, and tires contain toxic chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the effects of which are not fully understood.

So, what does the Consumer Product Safety Commission have to say about this product? Not much, presently. It’s providing technical assistance for California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, which is planning a thorough study of crumb rubber to measure its effects on health.

In …

Farm Safety Week
National Farm Safety & Health Week (9/20-9/26)

National Farm Safety & Health Week is Sept. 20-26. Since 1944, this annual event has aimed to raise awareness of how safety on farms and ranches can be improved. This year, the theme is, “Ag safety is not just a slogan, it’s a lifestyle.”

For people outside the profession, farming may seem like an occupation with few hazards. But in 2013, there were 500 farming fatalities – about 23 deaths per 100,000 workers.

Unlike most industries in the U.S., about 87 percent of farms are family-owned and operated, sometimes with multiple generations working alongside each other every day. Migrant families also account for a large number of seasonal farm workers. So for many farmers and ranchers, workplace safety and family safety are interchangeable terms.

Texas and Tractors

Texas is home to more farms and ranches than any other state in …

Campus Safety Month
National Campus Safety Awareness Month

For parents, sending children off to college can be an anxiety-inducing experience. They hope their children will be happy, make friends, excel in school, and be safe. But violent crime on campuses – especially violence against women – is raising concerns about just how safe students are when they leave home for college.

September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month, an initiative launched by the Clery Center for Security on Campus. The center is named for Jeanne Clery, who in 1986 was raped and murdered in her Lehigh University dorm room. After her death, Clery’s parents learned campus authorities failed to warn students about crimes on campus, and there was no law requiring them to do so. Because of the Clery family’s efforts, the Jeanne Clery Act went into effect in 1991, requiring colleges that receive federal funding to …

Concussions in Young Athletes
Concussions in Young Athletes

In December 2015, Sony Pictures will debut its film, “Concussion,” about the doctor who first identified a degenerative brain disease in professional football players, brought on by repeated head trauma. The disease – Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy – had long been known to affect amateur and professional boxers, but not until 2002 was it diagnosed in a pro football player.

In news stories about the long-term dangers of concussion, much of the focus has been on professional football. But pro athletes have a long history of playing the game, and it’s possible for a player to suffer one or more head injuries before even reaching adulthood.

How Brain Injury Affects Young People

The human brain isn’t fully developed until a person is about 25 years old, and investigators theorize concussion may affect growing brains differently than it affects mature brains.…

Austin, TX Dram Shop Law
Liability for Serving Alcohol

All too often, we see stories about tragic crashes caused by drunk drivers. It’s hard to say why people decide it’s OK to drink and drive. Maybe they don’t realize they’re intoxicated, or they overestimate their own ability to drive while under the influence. But when bartenders recognize that a patron is intoxicated, they may be able to prevent that person from driving drunk.

What the Law Says

Texas law forbids the sale of alcohol to people who are obviously intoxicated to the point that they pose a danger to themselves or others. A bartender or bar-owner that violates that law could be found liable, if a patron causes a crash after leaving a bar.

In 2012, a jury found a Texas bar 75 percent liable for a drunk driving crash, ordering the owners to pay $2.05 million in damages. …