Senator JV Ejercito urged the passage of the child restraints bill during a road safety forum on Tuesday, August 22.

Ejercito said that laws have been passed to address most factors that contribute to road crash incidents, except for the safety of children inside motor vehicles. (READ: Seat belts are not enough for infants and children)

The senator is proposing the Child Safety on Motor Vehicles Act of 2017 that will impose drivers of covered vehicles to secure a child on a child restraint system while driving.

“Here in the Philippines, we already passed 6 out of 7 laws addressing these risk factors and the only measure left is the Child Restraint Law. We must pass this into law,” said Ejercito.

These laws cover speeding, drunk or drugged driving, seatbelt or helmet-wearing, and the use of gadgets while driving. (READ: What laws help keep road users safe in the Philippines?)

Across the country, an average of more than 600 children died every year from 2006 to 2014.

Republic Act 8750 or the Seat Belts Use Act of 1999 requires the driver and front seat passenger of a moving vehicle to wear seatbelts. However, these devices are not in the right size to protect children in case of a collision.

“We’re working on it hopefully before the 17th Congress adjourns,” he said.

Weak enforcement

Despite having good laws on ensuring the safety of Filipinos on the road, implementation remains a problem.

According to Catanduanes lone district Representative Cesar Sarmiento, chair of the House Committee on Transportation, the rising number of deaths resulting from road crash incidents is due to weak implementation of laws. (READ: What’s lacking in our road safety laws?)

“Why do road crashes continue to occur nationwide and even rise in number over the years? We all know the answer. Weak enforcement of our laws and low public awareness on the importance of road safety,” Sarmiento said.

Sarmiento said his committee continues to push agencies to be “true to their mandates”.

“As for strengthening the implementation of our road safety laws, our Committee continues to exercise its oversight function,” Sarmiento said.

The Committee is working with the agencies for properly issuing driver’s licenses, putting up of the long-delayed Motor Vehicle Inspection System, and strengthening implementation of the Helmet Act.

Sarmiento urged the advocacy groups to help inform the public on road safety.

“We need the help of our NGOs and road safety advocates on this. Please continue to educate the public to invest time, money, and other resources in road safety,” he said.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that 8,666 people died in road crash incidents in 2014.

Death resulting from these incidents is the primary cause of fatality in the youth aged 15 to 29 years old.–