For over two decades, the Land Transportation Office (LTO), along with its other deputized agencies have been imposing fines and penalties on motorists who violate its rules and regulations. One of the most serious incidents of violation involves road accidents and crashes, resulting in over 5960 dead children or 662 deaths per year from 2006 to 2014. Having said that, the government deemed it necessary to protect the children, hence the creation and enactment of the Republic Act (RA) 11229, also known as the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act.
The Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act (RA 11229) is just like all the other laws. It was authored by then Senator JV Ejercito to help keep the children alive while riding covered motor vehicles. According to this law, using child restraint system (CRS) can help to proactively prevent accidents and promote land transportation safety for the public, particularly for the children. These are meant to reduce the risks of accidents, injuries, and death, especially those related to motor vehicle accidents. Let’s take a closer look at what this law is all about and how it can help avoid the deaths of children on the road.
RA 12299: Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act
Republic Act No. 11229 is officially entitled as An Act Providing for the Special Protection of Child Passengers in Motor Vehicles and Appropriating Funds Therefore. It is more commonly known as the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act and is enacted separately from RA 10666 or the Children Safety on Motorcycles Act. It was designed to ensure the children’s safety while aboard or being transported in any form of motor vehicle by the mandatory use of safe, appropriate, quality, and affordable child restraint systems in motor vehicles.
The law also mandates that the agency adequately, consistently and objectively require, regulate, promote, and inform the public on the use of child restraint systems in motor vehicles in addition to providing easy access to safe, appropriate, quality and affordable child restraint systems that pass the international standards accepted by the United Nations.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr), in consultation with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Health (DOH), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and other concerned agencies and stakeholders, created the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 12299 which covers the following:
- Motor vehicles covered under this Act;
- Standards and kinds of child restraint systems based on UN Regulations 44 and 129;
- Compatibility of child restraint systems to motor vehicles available in the market;
- Proper installation and positioning of the child restraint system in the vehicle;
- Certification training program for law enforcers, product inspectors, employees and agents of manufacturers, distributors, sellers and importers;
- Regulation of the manufacture, importation, and distribution of child restraint systems;
- Authorities responsible for the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation and compliance to the provisions of this Act; and
- Appropriation of the collected fines and fees in the implementation of this law
Provisions of the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act (RA 12299)
The following provisions are included in the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act:
Mandatory Use of Child Restraint System in Motor Vehicles
According to RA 12299, children who are twelve (12) years old or younger must be in a child restraint system while on board a closed motor vehicle while the engine is running, unless the child is at least one hundred fifty (150) centimeters or fifty-nine (59) inches in height. The law also said that at no instance should a child be left unaccompanied by an adult in a motor vehicle.
Children in Rear Seats
No child twelve (12) years and below of age shall be allowed to sit in a front seat of a motor vehicle with a running engine or while such child is being transported on any road, street or highway, unless the child meets the height requirement of at least one hundred fifty (150) centimeters or fifty-nine (59) inches.
Safety Standards for Child Restraint Systems
Before a child restraint system can be manufactured, sold, distributed and used legally, it must have passed the standards set forth by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in accordance with the standards provisioned in United Nations Regulation 44 and 129 as well as other acceptable international standards in the approval or disapproval of child restraint systems. Passing these standards are signified by the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) sticker, a Philippine Standards (PS) mark license, or Import Clearance Certificate (ICC) license certificate. The BPS also periodically publishes a list of child restraint systems manufacturers, importers and distributors, and the brands which pass its standards in a newspaper of general circulation or in its website.
Prohibition on Substandard or Expired Child Restraint System
The law also states that it is unlawful for any person, company, partnership, sole proprietorship, manufacturer, distributor, and/or importer to manufacture, use, import, sell, distribute, donate, lease, advertise, promote, or otherwise market the use of substandard or expired child restraint systems.
Certification Training Program
The law also offers provisions for the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the DTI to formulate and implement a certification training program for product inspectors, law enforcers, manufacturers, distributors, and sellers on the regulation, installation, use, maintenance and inspection of child restraint systems.
Child Safety in Public Utility Vehicles
To date, the DOTr is yet to recommend the use of child restraint systems in public utility vehicles such as, jeepneys, buses, including school buses, taxis, vans, coasters, accredited/affiliated service vehicles of transportation network companies, and all other motor vehicles used for public transport.
Penalties for Violation of RA 12299
The law also includes information on the penalties in the event of violations of any of the provisions stated in the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act (RA 12299).
These penalties are as follows:
- For violations involving the mandatory use of child restraint system and children in rear seats of covered motor vehicles:
- First offense: A fine of One thousand pesos (₱1,000.00)
- Second offense: A fine of Two thousand pesos (₱2,000.00)
- Third and succeeding offenses: A fine of Five thousand pesos (₱5,000.00) and suspension of the drivers license for a period of one (1) year
- For violations involving safety standards for child restraint systems and the prohibition on substandard or expired child restraint system, manufacturers, distributors, importers, retailers, and sellers may be subjected to the following penalties:
- A fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (₱50,000.00) but not more than One hundred thousand pesos (₱100,000.00) for each and every child restraint system product manufactured, distributed, imported and/or sold, without prejudice to other penalties imposed under Republic Act No. 7394 or the “Consumer Act of the Philippines”.
- For violations involving driver who allows the use of substandard and/or expired child restraint system or permits the use of child restraint system that does not bear the PS mark or the ICC sticker and certificate:
- First offense: A fine of one thousand pesos (₱1,000.00)
- Second offense: A fine of three thousand pesos (₱3,000.00)
- Third and succeeding offenses: A fine of five thousand pesos (₱5,000.00) and suspension of the drivers license for a period of one (1) year
- For violations involving tampering, alteration, forgery and imitation of the PS mark or the ICC stickers in the child restraint systems, the following penalties shall apply:
- A fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (₱50,000.00) but not more than One hundred thousand pesos (₱100,000.00), for each and every child restraint system product, without prejudice to other penalties imposed in Republic Act No. 7394 or the “Consumer Act of the Philippines” with the DOTr being empowered to increase or adjust the amounts of the fines prescribed in this section once every five (5) years in the amount not exceeding ten per percent (10%) of existing rates.
Exemptions of the Provisions of RA 12299
The following lists the circumstances when exemptions of the need for child restraint system applies, as stated in the provisions of Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act (RA 12299):
- When 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;
- If the child has a medical, mental, or psychological condition; or
- Other analogous circumstances prescribed under the implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
Video: What is RA 11229?
Learn more about what Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act (RA 12299) is all about by watching this explainer video from DriveSafe PH:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
For your reference, here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act (RA 12299):
1. What is RA 11229 or “The Child Safety in Motor Vehicle Act”?
It is a law that mandates the use of age-appropriate and quality child restraint systems (CRS) in covered motor vehicles. The law also prohibits children below 12 years old and under one hundred fifty (150) centimeters or fifty-nine (59) inches from sitting beside the driver when the vehicle is moving. The law mandates both the DOTr and the LTO to adequately, consistently, and objectively require, regulate, promote, and inform the public on the use child restraint systems in motor vehicles, and regulate the same access to safe, appropriate, quality, and affordable child restraint systems in accordance with the international standards accepted by the United Nations or UN. It also includes clauses on how to punish violators of such rules with fines and penalties, the severity and cost of which may vary depending on the type and incidence of violations as well as the resulting damages.
2. What is a Child Restraint System (CRS)?
A child restraint system (CRS) refers to a device, approved by law in accordance with the provisions stated in Section 6 of Republic Act No. 11229. It is a system designed to be capable of accommodating a child occupant in a sitting or supine position and is used to diminish the risk of injury to the child, twelve (12) years or younger, in the event of a collision or of abrupt deceleration of the vehicle, by limiting the mobility of the body.
3. Are RA 12299 and RA 10666 the same?
No. While both involve child safety, RA 10666 refers to child safety rules, requirements, prohibitions, and guidelines to follow when riding motorcycles while RA 12299 refers to the rules, requirements, and guidelines to follow as well as the need to use child restraint systems while riding a moving closed motor vehicle.
4. Can an expired child restraint system be used when it still looks in good shape?
No. There’s a reason for the inclusion of specific prohibition against use of substandard or expired child restraint systems. Besides, if the child restraint system isn’t at its peak form, then it kind of defeats its purpose since it won’t be able to protect the child the way it is supposed to.
5. What is a covered vehicle?
A covered vehicle could be any type of private or public motor vehicle, excluding tricycles and motorcycles, that satisfies the requirements as determined by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in accordance with Section 12 of RA 12299.
Despite the ever increasing problems regarding the vehicles on the road, the Philippine government makes it a point to protect the rights and ensure the safety of the children while riding a motor vehicle or while being transported. Thanks to the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act (RA 12299), children who ride covered vehicles get a fighting chance in cases of unexpected incidents or accidents on the road. Plus, the law punishes those who don’t follow the rules and regulations stated in it, so it’s a pretty effective preventive measure and it works well enough to reduce the risks of accidents, injuries, and death, especially to children who ride motor vehicles. It also includes information on fines and penalties for both the drivers and implementing authorities in cases of failure to follow the provisions of the law.