SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives unanimously approved on Tuesday House Bill 6938 which seeks to provide special protection of child passengers in motor vehicles.
Voting 225-0, the House approved the proposed “Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act” which provides that it is the policy of the State to ensure the safety of children while being transported in any form of motor vehicle.
Likewise, the bill declares the State recognizes the right of children to assistance, including proper care and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse and other conditions prejudicial to their development, including exposure to safety risks while aboard motor vehicles.
To guarantee the safety and welfare of infants and children and prevent traffic-related deaths and injuries, there is a need to require, regulate and promote, and inform the public on the use of child restraint systems in motor vehicles and provide access to safe, appropriate, quality and affordable child restraint systems, in accordance with international standards accepted by the United Nations.
It mandates the use of child restraint systems in privately-owned motor vehicles. It shall at all times secure a child while being transported on any road, street or highway. The child restraint system shall be appropriate to the child’s size, height and weight.
Such requirements shall not apply to circumstances where the child restraint system would put such child in greater danger such as: during medical emergencies; when the child transported has a medical or developmental condition; or other analogous circumstances prescribed under the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
The bill refers to a child restraint system as “a device capable of accommodating a child occupant in a sitting or supine position. It is so designed to diminish the risk of injury to the wearer, in the event of a collision or an abrupt deceleration of the vehicle by limiting the mobility of the child’s body.”
If the child is at least 150 centimeters or 59 inches in height or based on the standards on the height or size of the child as set forth by the United Nations, the child may use the regular seat belt instead of a child restraint system.
No child below 12 years old shall be allowed to sit in a front seat of a motor vehicle, unless the child is at least 150 centimeters or 59 inches in height and capable to properly fit in the regular seat belt in the front seat.
The bill mandates the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to use as benchmark the standards set forth in UN Regulation, in the approval and disapproval of child restraint systems that will be sold, distributed and used in the Philippines.
The DTI shall also conduct mandatory testing of all locally manufactured child restraints systems and certify to the safety and appropriateness of imported ones. All manufacturers, importers, distributors and sellers of child restraint systems are required to secure from the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) a Philippine Standards (PS) mark license and/or Import Clearance Certificate (ICC) license prior to the marketing, sale and distribution of their products.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and DTI are mandated to formulate and implement a certification training program for product inspectors, law enforcers, manufacturers, distributors, and sellers on the regulations as prescribed in the IRR.
The DOTr shall conduct a study and recommend to Congress the use of child restraint systems in public utility vehicles.
The measure provides for varying penalties for drivers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and sellers who shall violate the proposed Act.
The DOTr, Philippine Information Agency (PIA), the Department of Education (DepEd) and concerned private agencies and organizations shall undertake regular nationwide information, education and communication (IEC) campaign within six months from the passage of the Act. / RBB