Why DOTr, LTO support delaying enforcement of 'car seat' law

·3 min read

THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) are in favor of postponing the enforcement of the child restraint seats in vehicles “in consideration of the current pandemic, and until a comprehensive information, education, and communication campaign is executed.”

The DOTr published this statement on its Facebook page on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, following questions and concerns over the enforcement of the implementing rule under the Child Safety in Motor Vehicle Act or Republic Act 11229.

IN A PANDEMIC

"Both the DOTr and the LTO are in agreement that a deferment of the full implementation or enforcement of this new rule is warranted, especially given our current economic situation amid this still raging pandemic," said DOTr.

Under the implementing rules of RA 11229, children 12 years old and below who are shorter than 4’11 are no longer allowed to sit in the front seat or to be left unattended inside a private vehicle.

The law also requires children to use child restraint systems or child car seats appropriate for their age, height, and weight.

CAMPAIGN

In its statement, the DOTr said that:

• part of its planned information, education, and communication (IEC) campaign is the information rollout about the law to education officials, children, medical practitioners, manufacturers, retailers, and importers, among others;

• the IEC campaign will be executed in close coordination with non-government organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), and agencies, such as Philippine Information Agency, Department of Education, and Department of Health;

• LTO is still in the process of finalizing enforcement protocols as this requires special training because it involves the welfare of the children;

• violators will have no fines for now and will "initially be warned" and given information materials about the new law; and

• according to LTO, issuances of fines or imposition of driver's license demerit points may be done in three to six months.

RA 11229

• RA 11229 was created and implemented to uphold the safety of children while aboard motor vehicles.

• It specifically determines the age and height of the child to be covered and the standard of child restraint and penalties to be imposed on violators.

• It was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Feb. 22, 2019 while the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) was approved on Dec. 23, 2019 and took effect on Feb. 2, 2020.

• The drafting of the IRR underwent a series of public consultations with parents, guardians, CSOs, NGOs, and private sectors, among others.

• A World Health Organization study on seat belts and child restraints states that the correct installation and usage of car seats can reduce the risk of death for infants by 70 percent, and 47 to 54 percent for children aged 1 to 4 years old in a road crash incident.

The DOTr clarified that that RA 11229 is not a policy implemented by them nor the LTO. The agency also said that the initial plan to conduct a nationwide IEC did not push through due to the lockdown and limitations in the conduct of activities and travel. (WBS)