MANILA - The Philippines is set to implement a law mandating children to be seated in car seats while inside motor vehicles to ensure their protection in the event of an accident.
The law, which takes effect February 2, disallows children aged 12-years old and below from sitting in the front seat of a vehicle, and mandates them to use "child restraint systems" when sitting at the back.
Here are some key points you need to know about Republic Act No. 11229, or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act:
What age is covered by the law?
All children aged 12-years-old and below
What height is exempted by the law?
A child may be exempted provided that he or she is at least 150 centimeters or 59 inches in height. The law deems that passengers taller than this measurement can be "properly secured using a regular seatbelt."
What vehicles are covered?
All public and private motor vehicles determined by the Department of Transportation (DOTr). The law does not cover tricycles and motorcycles.
When are children exempted from sitting on car seats inside a moving vehicle?
- During medical emergencies
- If the child has a medical or developmental condition
When will public utility vehicles install car seats?
The law mandates the Department of Transportation to "conduct a study" on the use of child restraint systems in jeeps, buses, taxis, vans and other modes of public transportation.
"Should the DOTr determine, after the study, that child restraint systems are not applicable in certain public utility vehicles, it shall recommend to Congress other safety measures and regulations for the safe and secure transportation of children in vehicles."
What are the penalties for violating the law?
- P1,000 for the first offense
- P2,000 for the second offense
- P5,000 and suspension of driver's license for a year for the third and succeeding offenses
The same penalties will be given to drivers who will use defective or substandard car seats.