LTO: No sanctions for violators of child car seats law just yet

(Eagle News) — Authorities will not sanction violators of the Child Safety and Motor Vehicle Act just yet.

The Land Transportation Office said issuances of fines and the imposition of driver’s license demerit points for not using a child car seat for children below a specific height may be done in three to six months.

The law, or RA 11229, was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on February 22, 2019.

Its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) were approved last December 23, 2019 and took effect in February 2020.

The IRR, however,  provided a transitory period of one year after it took effect before mandatory compliance to the law, which means the law should take effect this month.

“However, in consideration of the current pandemic, and until a comprehensive information, education, and communications (IEC) campaign is executed in close coordination with (non-government organizations), (civil society organizations), and agencies such as (Public Information Authority), (Department of Education) and (Department of Health), the (Department of Transportation) and LTO favor the deferment of its full implementation in terms of enforcement,” the LTO said.

“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,” the LTO said.

According to Section 4 of the law, “it shall be unlawful for the driver of a covered vehicle not to properly secure at all times a child, in a child restraint system while the engine is running or transporting such child on any road, street or highway unless the child is at least one hundred fifty (150) centimeters or fifty-nine (59) inches in height and is properly secured using the regular seat belt.”

The LTO said the law was based on a World Health Organization  study on seat belts and child restraints that said the correct installation and usage of car seats can reduce the risk of death for infants by 70 percent, and by  47 to 54 percent for children aged 1 to 4 in a road crash incident.

“Its primary intention, as a matter of state policy, is to uphold the safety of children while aboard motor vehicles,” it added.