Seat Belt Law takes effect today
- Sheila Crisostomo () - May 1, 2000 - 12:00am

Buckle up.

The law requiring motorists and their passengers to wear seatbelts will be implemented starting today.

"Drivers and front seat passengers of public and private motor vehicles are required to wear or use their seat belt devices while inside a running vehicle. This is for their own safety," Rolando Lansang, chief of the Land Transportation Office's Law Enforcement Service, said yesterday.

Drivers are also required to have their passengers strapped in.

Republic Act 8750 or the Seat Belt Law is intended to minimize the number of injuries and deaths in road accidents.

The law also prohibits children below six years old from sitting in the front seat of any running motor vehicle, even if the child is buckled up.

Further, "Effective today, no new motor vehicle shall be registered unless it is equipped with the proper seat belt devices," Lansang said.

Renewal of registration of in-use vehicles lacking seat belts shall be prohibited effective Nov. 1.

"So owners of old vehicles still have until Oct. 31 to put these gadgets in place. Otherwise, they will be dealt with accordingly," Lansang said.

Officers of the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the police and the Metro Manila Development Authority will be on the lookout for violators.

For failing to wear seatbelts, the fine for a first-time violation is P250, P500 for the second violation and P1,000 for succeeding violations plus a week-long suspension of the driver's license.

A fine of P300 for every violation awaits those who fail to install signs instructing passengers in public vehicles to buckle up.

For failing to install seat belts, the fine is P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second, and P3,000 and a three-month suspension of the certificate of registration for succeeding offenses.

Vehicle manufacturers, assemblers, distributors or importers will be fined P5,000 for every unit found without seat belts prior to its distribution and a one-year suspension of their license; P10,000 for every unit and a two-year suspension for the second offense; and P20,000 for each unit and a five-year suspension for succeeding violations.

Lansang said there are seat belts that fit each type of vehicle, including passenger jeepneys and buses. "All types of seat belts shall be constructed in accordance with technical specifications. In general, only passenger seats facing forward are required to have seat belts."

When the Seat Belt Law was signed last year, it elicited amusement from the public because jeepneys and passengers buses are not equipped with seat belts.

It also generated skepticism that the law would be followed to the letter because Filipinos are generally not safety-conscious.

BELTS LANSANG LAW ENFORCEMENT SERVICE MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OFFICERS OF THE LAND TRANSPORTATION OFFICE REPUBLIC ACT ROLANDO LANSANG SEAT SEAT BELT LAW TRANSPORTATION OFFICE
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