Bill requiring child restraint in vehicles hurdles House panel
A bill requiring child restraint devices in all motor vehicles hurdled the transportation committee in the House of Representatives.
In a statement Tuesday, the House of Representatives transportation committee approved the proposed “Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act” during its hearing on Monday.
At least 11 members of the panel approved it, while only two members voted against it.
The passage at the committee level paves the way for debates at the plenary for second reading.
Buhay Rep. Mariano Michael Velarde, one of the authors, said it is the state’s policy to keep children safe while being transported in any form of motor vehicle.
Velarde said the country’s seatbelt law or Republic Act 8750 mandates the installation of seat belts in front and rear seats of private vehicles.
“But the law does not require the use of child restraints or child restraint devices for young children on board,” Velarde said.
Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, another author, said United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) pushed for the use of child restraint, which the Philippines has yet to legislate.
Sarmiento cited data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) that there were 24,656 road crashes as of 2015, leaving 1,040 people dead.
“Moreover, in its Health Policy Notes, the Department of Health stressed that among children 0 to 17 years of age, road crashes are the second leading cause of death next to drowning,” Sarmiento said.
According to the approved unnumbered bill, it would be unlawful for the driver of a privately-owned motor vehicle not to secure a child in a child restraint system.
The bill also prohibits leaving the child, defined in the bill as under 12 years old, in a restraint system unaccompanied by an adult.
The bill also bars any child to occupy the front seat of a motor vehicle.
Drivers who would violate the proposed law would be penalized with P1,000 for the first offense; P2,000 for the second offense; and P5,000 and suspension of the driver’s license for a period of one year for the third and succeeding offenses. /idl