Child car seat law should be delayed—DoTr and LTO agree

Published February 2, 2021, 12:07 PM

by Jane Kingsu-Cheng

With all the commotion and questions thrown back to the Department of Transportation and Land Transportation Office yesterday due to the implementation of the Child Restraint Seats (CRS) in Vehicles under The Child Safety in Motor Vehicle Act or RA 11229, the department released a statement earlier today via their Facebook account.

This law has been legislated, approved, and passed through Congress and signed by President Duterte last February 22, 2019. The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) was approved last December 23, 2019. “Since it’s a new measure, a transitionary period of one year was provided before the mandatory compliance as stated in the IRR. Hence, its effectivity today is by operation of law,” it says in the post.

Before the release of the IRR, it has been through a series of public consultations with key people and institutions including parents and guardians, NGOs, CSOs, and private sectors. “Its primary intention, as a matter of state policy, is to uphold the safety of children while aboard motor vehicles.”

The whole point of this law is to protect children from car accidents. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the use of seat belts and child restraints can reduce infant deaths by 70 percent, 47 to 54 percent for children between one to four years old.

“In consideration of the current pandemic, and until a comprehensive information, education, and communications (IEC) campaign is executed in close coordination with NGOs, CSOs, and agencies such as PIA, DepEd and DOH, the DOTr and LTO favor the deferment of its full implementation in terms of enforcement.”

The deparment also revealed that they were supposed to have a scheduled Enforcement and Communications Planning Workshop regarding the implementation of this law last March 19-20, but this never pushed through because of the pandemic that we are in right now. “Currently, the LTO is in the process of finalizing enforcement protocols, considering that special training is needed due to the involvement of children.”

In an online press briefing last week, LTO made it clear that violators will not be fined. Initial warning and handouts will be given for proper briefing. “According to LTO, issuances of fines/imposition of driver’s license demerit points may be done in three to six months.-Both the DOTr and LTO are in agreement that a deferment of the full implementation/enforcement of this new rule is warranted, especially given our current economic situation amid this still raging pandemic.”

A press conference will be held later today to answer further clarifications.