• Mandatory Use of Car Seats Bill is Closer To Becoming Law in PH

    The bill also prohibits smaller children from riding in the front passenger seat.
    by Rachel Perez .
Mandatory Use of Car Seats Bill is Closer To Becoming Law in PH
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Yesterday, November 26, 2018, a Bicameral Conference Committee approved a unified version of the proposed law that will make land travel safer for children, according to a press release from the Senate. It includes requiring car seats when transporting children below 12 years old.

    The bill entitled "An Act Providing for the Special Protection of Child Passengers in Motor Vehicles and Providing Appropriations Thereof," or "Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act" for short, aims to protect infants and young children from severe injuries and death caused by car accidents and traffic-related incidents.

    The approved bicameral version of the bill will be ratified by both the Senate and House of Representatives (HOR). Then, it will be sent to the president for signature to finally become law.

    Senator Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito, chairman of the Subcommittee on Special Protection for Child Passengers under the Committee on Public Services, expects the bicameral committee version of the proposed measure to be ratified before the 17th Congress adjourns on June 8, 2019.

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    Last October, the Senate approved Senate Bill No. 1971, while the HOR approved their version, House Bill No. 6938, earlier in February. The unified version was approved in under an hour of deliberations by the bicameral committee, and had minor revisions.

    The law requires drivers of private vehicles to secure children aged 0 to 12 in a child restraint system while on a road, street, or highway. Child restraint systems, or car safety seats, are designed to "diminish the risk of injury in the event of a collision or of abrupt deceleration of the vehicle by limiting the mobility of the child's body. These should be appropriate for the child's age, height, and weight, and should be properly mounted in the vehicle.

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    Kids below 150 centimeters tall (59 inches or 4 feet and 8 inches) are prohibited from riding on the front passenger seat of the vehicle. 

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    Even with child restraint systems, children should never be left unattended inside vehicles, whether it's moving or stationary. Drivers found violating the law will be meted with a fine of a maximum of P5,000 and the suspension of their driver's license for one year.

    For public motor vehicles, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is also mandated to adopt safety measures and issue regulations for the safe and secure transportation of children in public utility vehicles.

    As for car seat regulations, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is tasked to set standards for the manufacture, import, distribution, and selling of child restraint systems. The proposed law states that it should be in accordance with the already existing regulations set by the United Nations (UN).

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