With the Seat Belt Use Act in the Philippines (Republic Act 8750), every car is equipped with seatbelts. Seatbelts also became mandatory for both drivers and passengers. Unfortunately, despite the benefits and the undeniable presence of seatbelts in every car, the law remains one of the most violated driving rules in the country. Maybe it’s intentional defiance or ignorance of the law, but the fact remains that seat belts are usually relegated as mere decorations in the car, especially in the Philippines.
Despite being around for a long time, the Seat Belt Use Act remains ineffective. Buckling up just never stuck with Filipinos. Many motorists just do not know what the law is about. Some people also don’t seem to realize the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt as it is quite uncomfortable and it limits their movement in the car. Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is not an excuse. That said, we hope this guide on the Seat Belt Use Act can help.
What is the Seat Belt Use Act in the Philippines – Republic Act No. 8750
Republic Act No. 8750, otherwise known as the Seat Belts Use Act of 1999, is a policy of the state meant to secure and safeguard the Filipinos. It is a particularly important law as it keeps the passengers and drivers of private and public motor vehicles safe from the ruinous and extremely injurious effects of vehicular accidents. It is to this effect that the Seat Belt Use Act, a proactive and preventive approach that uses seatbelts to ensure the security and safety of the drivers and front seat passengers of private and public motor vehicles at all times, was enacted.
Through the Seat Belts Use Act, the following are mandated by law:
- Drivers and front seat passengers of a public or private motor vehicle are required to wear or use their seatbelt while inside a vehicle running on any road or thoroughfare.
- For private vehicles, except for jeeps, jeepneys, vans, buses, front and back seat passengers are required to use their seatbelt devices at all times.
- Drivers of public motor vehicles must immediately inform and require the front seat passengers to wear seatbelts upon boarding or they won’t be allowed to board.
- For special public service vehicles such as school services and other similar vehicles, seatbelt devices should be provided and used by both drivers and front seat passengers as
- First row passengers immediately behind the driver must wear seatbelts at all times, especially while inside a vehicle with a running engine.
- Children below six (6) years old are prohibited from sitting in the front seat of any running motor vehicle, even if the child is buckled up.
- Car manufacturers, assemblers and distributors are required by law to ensure that the seatbelt is properly installed before the distribution and sale.
- Manufacturers, assemblers, and distributors of jeepneys may install a pelvic restraint or lap belt only in the driver’s and front seat passengers’ seats upon consideration.
Importance of Seatbelts
If you’re driving or in a car, then you know crashes are inevitable on the road. As it is impossible to always brace yourself for impact, seatbelts have long become a vital part of every motor vehicle.
The following are other benefits that make the use of seatbelt important:
- The seatbelt distributes the impact of the crash to the chest and pelvis—two of the strongest body parts of the human body.
- It keeps the occupants of the car from being thrown out of the vehicle or against its interiors like the dashboard and windshield.
- It stops the passengers from hitting other passengers of the car.
- It keeps passengers and drivers from being ejected from the car.
Who is it for
This Act, enacted in the interest of public safety, applies to drivers and front seat passengers of public and private motor vehicles.
Penalties and Fines
Failure to follow the provisions of the law means less security inside the vehicle as well as payment of LTO fines against drivers, operators, owners of vehicles, manufacturers, assemblers, importers and/or distributors for violation.
The following list of violations regarding wearing seatbelt device defines the fine and penalty provisions of the Seat Belt Use Act:
On the driver
- For failure to wear the prescribed seat belt devices
- For failure to require a seat belt device,
First Offense: A minimum fine of One hundred pesos (P100.00) but not to exceed One thousand pesos (P1,000.00)
Second Offense: A minimum fine of Two hundred pesos (P200.00) but not to exceed Two thousand pesos (P2,000.00)
Third Offense: A minimum fine of Five hundred pesos (P500.00) but not to exceed Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) and suspension of driver’s license for a period of one (1) week for the third and succeeding violations;
Public utility vehicles shall post appropriate signages instructing front seat passengers to wear seat belts when inside the vehicle. Non-compliance will hold both the driver and the operator liable and shall be fined a minimum of Three hundred pesos (P300.00) but not to exceed Three thousand pesos (P3,000.00) for every violation; and
On any manufacturer, assembler, importer and distributor
- For every unit found without seat belt devices installed prior to its distribution to the public,
First Offense: A minimum fine of Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) but not to exceed Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) and suspension of the license to manufacture, assemble, import or distribute for a period of one (1) year;
Second Offense: A minimum fine of Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) but not to exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) and suspension of the license to manufacture, assemble, import or distribute for a period of two (2) years;
Third Offense: A fine of Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) but not to exceed Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) and suspension of the license to manufacture, assemble, import or distribute for a period of five (5) years for the third violation.
For your reference, here are some important reminders:
- Seatbelts are considered to be the most effective car safety device ever invented.
- No new motor vehicle will be allowed to register at the LTO unless it is equipped with the proper seat belt device.
- Operational motor vehicles, both public and private, which are not equipped with the required seat belt devices need to retrofit appropriate seat belt devices in their vehicles.
- For old vehicles with no seat belt device, renewal of registration shall be prohibited.
- Having children below six (6) years old sitting in the front passenger seat is prohibited by law.
To date, the Seat Belt Use Act remains the most violated road rule in the Philippines. This means that too many risk serious injury and death in the event of a road crash. The problem is that many people fail to realize the dangers of not wearing a seat belt. They also do not know what the law stipulates.
Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is not an excuse to break it. Hence, we believe it’s high time it gets the attention it needs so more people will know about the law. Sure, it’s inconvenient, but at the end of the day, the seat belt is nothing but a simple, effective, and convenient life saver that’s already installed in the car. Plus, you can easily buckle up with one hand. So what’s stopping you from buckling up to save your life?