Mindanao Times

Child restraint system in cars required starting 2020: DOTr exec


CEBU CITY – Private vehicle drivers will have one-year to acquire a child restraint system (CRS) before the full implementa­tion of Republic Act 11229 or Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act of 2019 next year, an official of the Department of Transporta­tion (DOTr) on Friday said.

Jarizza Mae Biscante, chief of staff of Project

Developmen­t Office of DOTr, said President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law on February 22 this year and its implementi­ng rules and regulation­s (IRR) is expected to be signed before the year ends.

“It shall be unlawful for the driver of a covered private vehicle not to properly secure at all times a child passenger in a CRS while the engine is running or when transporti­ng such child on any road, street or highway,” Biscante said during the Cebu leg of the nationwide public informatio­n campaign on the law at the Bayfront Hotel here on Friday.

She said the DOTr is tasked by law to disseminat­e “informatio­n and education on accessibil­ity and affordabil­ity of CRS.”

Drivers of private vehicle, she said, has one year

transition period to acquire for the CRS. In the meantime, she added, they could be flagged down by law enforcemen­t officers from the Land Transporta­tion Office (LTO) or the Highway Patrol Group cops but in lieu of the citation ticket or temporary operator’s permit (TOP), they would be reminded about the law.

Lawyer Antonio Salvador, trustee of Initiative­s for Dialogue and Empowermen­t through Alternativ­e Legal Services (IDEALS), Inc. which is the private partner of DOTr in the informatio­n drive, defined CRS as a device “capable of accommodat­ing a child occupant in a sitting or supine position” and “designed as to diminish the risk of injury to the wearer, in the event of a collision or of abrupt decelerati­on of the vehicle, by limiting the mobility of the child’s body.”

He said the new law will penalize drivers who fail to use a CRS in securing child passenger who is “at least one hundred fifty (150) centimeter­s or fifty-nine (59) inches (4 feet and 11 inches) in height.”

The law also prohibits a child 12 years of age and below in the front seat of the private vehicle while in a running engine or such child is being transporte­d on any road, he said.

The Department of Trade and Industry, he said, is mandated by the law to use standards set forth by the United Nations regulation­s “including its evolving standards and other accepted internatio­nal standards in the approval or disapprova­l of CRS that will be distribute­d in the country”.

Salvador said the law only covers private vehicles for “private use”, any motor vehicle owned by the national government or any of its agencies, instrument­alities or political subdivisio­ns, including government-owned or controlled corporatio­ns or their subsidiari­es for official use, as well as any diplomatic vehicle.

The law does not apply to motorcycle­s and tricycles, he said.

Lawyer Melisa Comafay, the road safety project coordinato­r of IDEALS Inc., told the informatio­n drive participan­ts here that the Philippine is already compliant to internatio­nal standards requiring to address five risk factors in road safety, except the CRS under R.A. 11229.

She said the Philippine­s now has existing laws requiring motorists to wear seatbelts, prohibitin­g them to drink when driving, limiting speed while on the road, as well as requiring motorcycli­sts to wear a helmet.

If the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act of 2019 will be in full swing, the country will become fully compliant with the standards in addressing the five risk factors in road safety, she said.

Biscante said the national government is on track now that new law will have its IRR signed this year.

“Road safety is one of the things that the DOTr is trying to advocate. WHO (World Health Organizati­on) has establishe­d risk factors (in the road) and we have complied with them, and CRS is the last one,” Biscante added.

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