The Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading a measure that would give protection to infants and young children from deaths and serious injuries arising from road crashes and other traffic-related incidents.
With the unanimous vote of 20 senators present, Senate Bill 1971, entitled “An Act Providing for the Special Protection of Child Passengers in Motor Vehicles and Providing Appropriations Thereof,” would make travelling for children safer once signed into law.
The House of Representatives has approved the measure in February this year.
The measure, authored and sponsored by Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, provides that “drivers of private vehicles are mandated to secure a child 12 years old and below in a child restraint system while transporting a child on a road, street or highway.”
“Child restraint system” refers to a device capable of accommodating a child occupant in a sitting or supine position designed to diminish the 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.
These children are also prohibited from sitting 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.
“The child restraint system shall be appropriate to the child’s age, height and weight and approved in accordance with safety standards for child restraint system,” Ejercito said.
Even if they are wearing child restraint systems, drivers are prohibited from leaving the children unattended inside the vehicles, the bill stated.
It can be recalled that in July this year, a two-year-old boy was left unattended for several hours inside a vehicle parked in Metrowalk, a famous commercial hub in Pasig City. The video of the incident became viral in social media.
“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.
For the protection of children using public utility vehicles, the Department of Transportation is mandated to adopt safety measures and issue regulations for the safe and secure transportation of children.
A driver found violating this law shall be fined P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense and P5,000 and the suspension of the driver’s license for one year for the third and succeeding offenses.
Senate President Protempore Ralph Recto, Senators Grace L. Poe, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin T. Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara and Maria Lourdes Nancy S. Binay co-authored the measure. SENATE