Bill mandating use of car seats for children up for Duterte signature

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2019 05:42 PM

MANILA - A measure that would mandate vehicle owners to use car seats when transporting children is up for President Rodrigo Duterte's signature, a senator said Thursday.

Last week, the Senate and the House of Representatives transmitted to Malacañang a measure titled "An Act Providing for the Special Protection of Child Passengers in Motor Vehicles," said Sen. JV Ejercito, who authored the legislation.

Under the proposal, children aged 12 and below are prohibited from sitting in the front seat of vehicles, especially if he or she is below 150 centimeters or 56 inches in height and does not properly fit into a regular seat belt.

Children below the height requirement must be placed in a "child restraint system" to safely hold them while being transported on a road, street or highway.

"Child restraint system" refers to a device that could hold a child, whether sitting or laying down, which could diminish the risk of injury in case of a collision or abrupt braking. 

Even if children are placed in car seats, drivers are prohibited from leaving the minors unattended inside the vehicles, said Ejercito, who chairs the Senate subcommittee on special protection for child passengers under the Committee on Public Services.

A driver found violating this law shall be fined P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense, and P5,000 and the suspension of the driver's license for one year for the third and succeeding offenses.

The measure is aimed at protecting infants and young children from serious injury and death from road accidents, Ejercito said, noting that an average of 667 children die from road accidents in the Philippines annually.

Data from the World Health Organization showed that 1.35 million people around the world die each year as a result of road traffic crashes, he said.

Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5 to 29, he said, citing the same study.