MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that will require vehicle owners to use car seats when transporting children.
Duterte signed last Feb. 22 Republic Act 11229 or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act. A copy of the law was released by the Palace on Tuesday.
The law aims to guarantee the safety and welfare of infants and children and prevent traffic-related deaths and injuries. It cites the need to “adequately, consistently and objectively require, regulate, promote and inform the public on the use of child restraint systems.”
Under the law, no child 12 years and below shall be allowed to sit in a front seat of a motor vehicle with running engine unless the child meets the height requirement of at least 150 centimeters (4’11”) and is properly secured using the regular seat belt.
“It shall be unlawful for the driver of a covered vehicle not to properly secure at all times a child, in a child restraint system while the engine is running,” the law states.
“The child restraint system shall be appropriate to the child’s age, height, and weight.”
The use of child restraint system shall not be required in circumstances where its use would put such child in greater danger, such as during medical emergencies or when the child has a medical or developmental condition.
At no instance shall a child being secured in a child restraint system be left unaccompanied by an adult in a motor vehicle, the law added
Mandatory compliance with the law shall only be enforced only one year after the effectivity of its implementing rules and regulations. Various government agencies, led by the Department of Transportation, shall come up with the IRR six months from the effectivity of the law.
Any 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 law is also in accordance with the international standards set by the United Nations. All manufacturers, importers, distributors, and sellers of child restraint systems are required to follow the standards set by the UN on child restraints.
Any driver who allows the use of substandard and/or expired child restraint system or permits the use of child restraint system that does not bear the Philippine Standard mark shall also be slapped with the same penalties.
Tampering of the PS mark or Import Clearance Certificate (ICC) sticker shall be punished with a fine of not less than P50,000 but not more than P100,000 for each and every child restraint system product.
Meanwhile, the DOTr is also tasked to study and make recommendations on the possible use of child restraint systems in public utility vehicles.
The law repeals Section 5 of Republic Act 8750 or the Seat Belts Use Act of 1999 which states that infants and/or children 6 years old and below shall be prohibited to sit in the front seat of any running motor vehicle.