Press Release
February 8, 2021

Sotto supports deferment of enforcement of Child Safety Motor Vehicles Act

Senate President Vicente Sotto III supports the deferment of the full enforcement of Republic Act (RA) No. 11229 or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act considering the current pandemic; however, he stresses the need to ensure the safety of minors in case of a car crash.

Sotto during a hybrid plenary session Monday, February 8, 2021, said RA No. 11229 is a simple law which covers only children below 12 years old with a height of less than 150 centimeters or 59 inches. He said children who do not fall under the age and height requirement as provided by law could use the usual seatbelts.

Earlier, transportation officials said they won't penalize or give sanctions to violators of RA No. 11229 within the next six months. The Child Safety in Motor Vehicle Act was signed into law in February 2019 while its implementing rules and regulations was approved in December 2019.

Under the law, violators will be fined P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense, and P5,000 and suspension of driver's license for one year for the third and succeeding offenses.

"Are we just going to allow our country to remain as a third world country in terms of safety of children? Many have a very low understanding of the law that we passed. There are countries similarly situated or shall we call underdeveloped or the least developed countries such as El Salvador, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Mozambique, Lao People's Democratic Republic, but their implementation of their car seat or child seat safety law is doing well or are doing well," Sotto said in a privilege speech.

He said private motorists in first world countries like the United States, Europe and Asia are required to rent a child seat when they rent a car. Nobody complained about the requirement, Sotto noted.

"Now, why is a car restraint system necessary? Mandating the use of age-appropriate child restraint system like car seats and booster seats, are one of the evidence-based road safety policies that will save lives of the minor passengers and will give them a better chance of surviving a car crash," he stressed.

Sotto cited a published article by the Pediatric Trauma Department of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Michigan, U.S.A., which showed that bones develop with age and not size. Children's spine, Sotto stressed, needs to be protected.

"I wonder, in this issue, I wonder who the cerebrally challenged are? The implementers, or those opposing the law on social media? I hope this will be answered tomorrow in the hearing, because although we have numerous laws already relative to road safety, implementation is always the problem. Some of the existing road safety laws are the Seatbelts Use Law, the Anti-Drugged and Drunk Driving Law, Children's Safety on Motorcycle Act, Road Speed-Limiter Act, the Anti-Distracted Driving Act," he said.

"Our country is behind when it comes to the safety in transportation, especially the safety of the children. I can only pray that our children and grandchildren do not get hurt because of our misunderstanding of the law," he added.

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