House approves child car seat bill on final reading

MANILA -- The House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to provide special protection of child passengers in motor vehicles.

Voting 225-0, lawmakers passed House Bill 6938 or the proposed Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, which mandates the use of child restraint systems in privately-owned motor vehicles.

Under the bill, it shall be unlawful for a driver not to secure a child - 12 years old and below - in a child restraint system appropriate to the child's size, height and weight while being transported on any road, street, or highway.

The bill exempts circumstances where the child restraint system would put such child in a greater danger such as during medical emergencies, when the child transported has a medical or developmental condition, or other analogous circumstances.

The bill states that no child below 12 years old shall be allowed to sit in a front seat of a motor vehicle, unless the child is at least 150 centimeters or 59 inches in height and capable to properly fit in the regular seat belt in the front seat.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is mandated to use as benchmark the international standards in UN Regulation 44 and Regulation 129 in approving child restraint systems that will be distributed in the Philippines.

DTI shall also be responsible in conducting mandatory testing of all locally-manufactured child restraints systems and certify to the safety and appropriateness of imported child restraint system.

It shall be unlawful for any person, manufacturer, distributor, retailer and sellers to manufacture, use, and market the use of substandard or expired child restraint system.

The bill imposes varying penalties for drivers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and sellers who shall violate the proposed act.

A driver who violates the proposed law will be punished with a fine of PHP1,000 for the first offense, PHP2,000 for the second offense, PHP5,000 and a one-year suspension of the driver's license for the third and succeeding offenses. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency