Vehicular accidents happen on an almost day-to-day occurrence and can occur to anyone on the road. In order to provide children with extra protection against these unwanted accidents, Congress has recently approved a new bill known as the “Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act of 2017”.

Authored by Representative Mariano Michael Velarde, he says that there are provisions regarding the use of seatbelt in front and rear seats of vehicle. However, the current seatbelt law does not account for the safety of children as there is no law requring the use of child restraints devices or child seats on board vehicles.

The still unnumbered bill, which will substitute House Bills 1319 and 5595, was approved with a 11-2 vote by the House Committee on Transportation on Monday. The bill states that children 12 years old and below should be properly seated in a 'child restraint system'. To be more specific, the bill defines the system as “a device capable of accommodating a child occupant in a sitting or supine position.”

Apart from the requiring of a child seat, the bill also states that no child shall be left unaccompanied inside the vehicle. Furthermore, children below 12 years old cannot be allowed to occupy the front seats.

Those who do not comply with the bill will fill face charges and could even have their license suspended. Violators caught will be charged Php 1,000 for the first offense, Php 2,000 for the second, and Php 5,000 plus a one-year license suspension on their third and succeeding offenses.

Motorists will also be fined for using substandard child restraint systems which do not have a Philippine Standards license and Import Clearance Certificate (ICC) sticker. Those caught with the use of these substandard equipment will be fined Php 1,000 for the first offense, Php 3,000 for the second and Php 5,000 along with a one-year driver's license suspension on the third and succeeding offenses.