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Thursday, April 2, 2020
Home Legal Advice DearPao Protection of child passengers

Protection of child passengers

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My husband bought a 2019 sports utility vehicle. A family friend told us over dinner last week that there is a law providing for the protection of our three kids while inside our moving vehicle. Is this true?

Dear Paul,
The law that addresses your question is Republic Act (RA) 11229 (“An Act Providing for the Special Protection of Child Passengers in Motor Vehicles and Appropriating Funds Therefor”), which provides:
“Section 4. Mandatory Use of Child Restraint System in Motor Vehicles. It shall be unlawful for the driver of a covered vehicle not to properly secure at all times a child, in a child restraint system while the engine is running or transporting such child on any road, street or highway unless the child is at least one hundred fifty (150) centimeters or fifty-nine (59) inches in height and is properly secured using the regular seat belt. The child restraint system shall be appropriate to the child’s age, height and weight, and approved in accordance with Section 6 of this Act. The requirements of this section shall not apply to circumstances where the child restraint system would put such child in a greater danger, such as:

“(1) During medical emergencies;

“(2) When the child transported has a medical or developmental condition; or

“(3) Other analogous circumstances prescribed under the implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
“Notwithstanding the child being secured in a child restraint system, at no instance shall such child be left unaccompanied by an adult in a motor vehicle.

“Section 5. Children in Rear Seats. – No child twelve (12) years and below of age shall be allowed to sit in a front seat of a motor vehicle with a running engine or while such child is being transported on any road, street or highway, unless the child meets the height requirement set forth in Section 4 of this Act and is properly secured using the regular seat belt in the front seat.

“Section 6. Safety Standards for Child Restraint Systems. – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is mandated to use standards set forth in United Nations Regulation 44 and United Nations Regulation 129 including its evolving standards and other acceptable international standards in the approval or disapproval of child restraint systems that will be manufactured, sold, distributed and used in the Philippines. Such standards shall be periodically updated based on current United Nations Regulations concerning Child Restraint Systems.

“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 or Import Clearance Certificate (ICC) license prior to the marketing, sale and distribution of their products. The BPS shall issue periodically a list of child restraint systems manufacturers, importers and distributors, and the brands which pass its standards to be published in a newspaper of general circulation or in its website” (Emphases supplied).

The driver of a motor vehicle shall secure at all times a child in a child-restraint system while the engine of the car is moving or while transporting a child on any road and highway, unless the child is at least 150 centimeters or 59 inches in height and is secured using the regular seatbelt. The child shall not be left unaccompanied by an adult in a motor vehicle. Furthermore, no child 12 years old and below shall be allowed in the front seat. Any driver
who violates the law shall be fined ₱1,000 for the first offense; ₱2,000 for the second offense; and ₱5,000 and suspension of the driver’s license for a period of one year for the third and succeeding offenses.

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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