Children riding in vehicles will soon be more protected.
After first filing the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act back in 2017, the Senate recently approved Senate Bill 1971. Now called “An Act Providing for the Special Protection of Child Passengers in Motor Vehicles and Providing Appropriations Thereof”, the new bill would make traveling for children below 12 years old safer due to the requirement of 'child restraint systems' (or child seats) while traveling inside vehicles.
Authored by Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, the bill states that drivers of private vehicles are mandated to secure children aged 12 and below while driving on the road. More so, children are also prohibitted from seating on the front seats of vehicles unless the child is at least 150 cm (or 4 feet, 8 inches tall), allowing them to fit the regular seat belt in front.
To be specific, a child restraint system is described in the bill as “a device capable of accommodating a child occupant in a sitting or supine position designed to diminish the risk of injury in the event of a collision or of abrupt deceleration of the vehicle by limiting the mobility of the child's body.” The child restraint system shall also be appropriate to the child's age, height and weight.
Alongside the child restraint system, drivers are also not allowed to leave children unattended inside a vehicle. The bill cites the example of a 2-year old boy left inside a vehicle which was parked for several hours. More so, the video of the incident became viral as well on social media.
For public vehicles, the Deparment of Transportation will be mandated to adopt safety features and issue regulations for the safety of children.
Drivers violating this law shall be fined Php 1,000 for the first offense, Php 2,000 for the second offense, and Php 5,000 and a 1-year driver's license suspension for the third and succeeding offenses.