Senate Passes ‘Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act’ on Third and Final Reading

Cherryl Anne Cruz

The Senate has passed the final reading that would protect young children and infants from serious injuries and deaths caused by road accidents and adult negligence.

Senate Bill 1971, or the “Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act” was authored and sponsored by Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito. It got a unanimous 20 votes from all senators present in the session.

The bill requires drivers of private vehicles to secure a child 12 years old and below in a child restraint system “while transporting a child on a road, street or highway.”

According to the bill, the term “child restraint system” refers to a device capable of accommodating a child occupant in a sitting or supine position that helps lessen the child’s “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.”

Senator Ejercito also added that these child restraint systems will be determined according to the child’s appropriate height and weight and approved in accordance with safety standards for child restraint system.

Children and young infants are also not allowed to sit at the front seat of the vehicles, “unless the child is at least 150 centimeters or 56 inches in height and capable to properly fit in the regular seat belt in the front seat, the measure stated.”

Child negligence included

Moreover, the bill also prohibits parents or guardians to leave their children unattended in their vehicles even if they are wearing their child restraint systems.

“This act should not be acceptable as this might endanger the health and life of the child,” said Ejercito, chairman of the subcommittee on Special Protection for Child Passengers under the Committee on Public Services.

Once passed into law, violators will be fined “PHP1,000 for the first offense,  PHP2,000 for the second offense, and PHP5,000 and the suspension of the driver’s license for one year for the third and succeeding offenses.”

 

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