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  • Fasten Your Seat Belt When Riding In The Back Seat Of Taxis and Grab Cars

    by Rachel Perez .
Fasten Your Seat Belt When Riding In The Back Seat Of Taxis and Grab Cars
  • For the majority of drivers and front-seat passengers, wearing a seat belt has been a habit. But it's still not a regular practice for the ride-hailing public. Car owners, who usually buckle up when driving, don’t necessarily do so when they’re passengers in the back seat.

    The law already requires all car passengers in the Philippines to wear seat belts since 1999. Now, road safety advocates want taxi drivers and drivers of transport network vehicle service companies (TNVS), like Grab, to remind their passengers — whether riding in front or at the back — to buckle up.

    The law applies to all back-seat riding passengers, including kids old enough to use a seat belt, of any moving vehicle, not just taxis and Grab cars. For the latter, the reminder should be a protocol for drivers or included as a safety feature in ride-hailing apps.

    Currently, passengers in the back seat of taxi cabs and Grab cars do not wear seat belts. Many old-model cabs also may not have working seat belts in the back seat.

    Using the seat belt in the back seat is crucial

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that using seat belts can dramatically reduce by nearly half the risk of death and serious injury among drivers and front-seat passengers. But according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), only 76% of passengers who ride in the back seat use the seat belt.

    A 2017 survey conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit research group based in the U.S. and funded by auto insurance companies, also shows that only 57% percent of passengers who typically travel in taxis and ride-hailing vehicles reported to using a seat belt in the rear.


    But restrained passengers in the back seat are nearly eight times as likely to suffer serious injury as those who wore seat belts. “The safety of the back seat relies on people wearing their seat belts,” Jessica Jermakian, a senior engineer at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, told The Washington Post.

    “When people don’t buckle up, they’re not just putting themselves at risk; they’re putting other people in the vehicle at risk because they become a projectile in a crash,” Jermakian added.

    In July 2018, a Filipino family of six figured in a car crash in Delaware, New Jersey. The parents were found adequately restrained in the front and were taken to hospitals. The father, who was in the driver’s seat, did not make it. The four kids riding in the back seats were found not wearing seat belts and died on the spot.

    Kids not tall enough to wear seat belts should be in a car seat.

    According to the Department of Health (DOH), among kids under the age of 17, road crashes are the second leading cause of death. Apart from the Philippines’ seat belt law, Republic Act No. 11229, or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act of 2019, is also set to take effect this year, 2020.

    What other parents are reading

    The Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act requires children under age 12 to be secured in a car seat or booster seat when riding in the back seat of vehicles. (Click here to find out how to appropriately choose a car seat that fits your child’s age, height, and weight).

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    Only kids at least 150 centimeters or 59 inches (around 4 feet and 9 inches) in height can be appropriately secured by the vehicle seat belt alone. Ensure that the seat belt fits correctly, check if the shoulder belt should lie across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat. The lap belt should be low and snug across the upper thighs, not the belly.

    For pregnant women, the lap belt should be placed securely under the bump and not over it (i.e., across the lower part of the abdomen, over the thighs). The torso belt should run snugly between the breasts down the side of the driver's body.

    For more child safety reminders for parents, click here.

    What other parents are reading

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