Govt. to require car back seats for children starting February 2

Private car owners will have to install special seats for children by February 2 when implementation of the law on the use of child restraint systems becomes mandatory.

While it has been almost two years since President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11229 or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, Atty. Daphne Marcelo, Policy Associate for Road Safety at ImagineLaw, said different agencies have been implementing the law.

But mandatory compliance with the law will begin on Tuesday, where private car owners as well as manufacturers and distributors of child seats may be slapped with hefty penalties if they fail to follow the rules.

ImagineLaw is a non-profit public interest law group that is working with the Land Transportation Office for its enforcement operations, providing training on how to handle the implementation, especially with child passengers involved.

In a virtual briefing on Friday, Marcelo said the law seeks to address road traffic deaths among children as car safety seats provide protection to the most vulnerable parts of the body—head, neck, brain, spinal cord.

Citing data from World Health Organization, she said there were 12,487 road deaths in 2018 in the Philippines, or more than 34 persons every day. In 2017, child road deaths in the country also reached 1,226.

“The use of child safety seats can reduce infant deaths by 70 percent, while deaths of small children are reduced by 54 percent,” Marcelo added.

LTO Deputy Director for Law Enforcement Roberto Valera said in the same briefing that the car seats should be appropriate to the child’s age, weight, and height.

Under the law, it is not allowed to make a child sit in the front seat of a motor vehicle. The use of substandard or expired child restraint system is also prohibited.

For failure to comply with the law, an erring driver will be fined ₱1,000 to ₱5,000, and the driver’s license shall be suspended for a period of one year for the third and succeeding offenses.

Any manufacturer, distributor, importer, retailer, and seller who would compromise the quality of the child restraint system will be punished with a fine of at least ₱50,000 but not more than ₱100,000 for each product.

The Department of Trade and Industry is tasked to issue mandatory product certification. — via Irvin Chua / AdChoiceTV News

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