In the Philippines, where transportation has become a necessity and a convenience, car dealers have made the acquisition of motor vehicles very simple. As the number of motor vehicles plying the streets increases, so does the number of road crashes wherein a number of fatalities and injuries are due to the lack of seat belt or failure to wear one. It is important to have and use seat belts because, when used properly, it can save the wearer’s life. The seat belt can keep the wearer from crashing into the dashboard or from shooting out of the windshield, preventing serious injuries and deaths.
The three-point seat belt was invented in 1959 by Nils Bohlin, a Volvo engineer, and has saved countless lives since, hence, considered “possibly the most effective safety device ever invented”. This device is effective because of the following reasons:
- It distributes the force of a crash to some of the strongest parts of the body—the chest and pelvis;
- It keeps car occupants from being thrown against the interior of the car, such as the windscreen or dashboard;
- It restrains passengers from hitting other car occupants; and
- It keeps drivers and passengers from being ejected from the car.
Effective in May 2000, the Seat belt Use Act (Republic Act 8750) made the installation of seat belt devices mandatory for vehicle manufacturers. Motorists and passengers in both private and public motor vehicles have been required to use these devices properly – including those seated at the back of a private motor vehicle. The law also prohibits children six years old and below from sitting in front of any moving vehicle even if they are wearing a seat belt. Drivers and owners/operators are fined if apprehended for violating this law. Penalties are as follows:
Private and PUV Driver – failure to wear seat belt and allowing children 6 yrs old and below to sit in front
|3rd and succeeding offenses:||P5,000.00 and 1 week suspension of driver’s license from the payment of fine|
PUV Driver and Operator – failure to require passenger/s to wear the seatbelt
P3,000.00 each for every violation
However, even with the above law and stiff penalties, a lot of Filipinos still fail to make buckling up a habit due to their failure to realize what the law specifies and the dangers they face when not wearing seat belt. Because of this, the Land Transportation has included the wearing of seat belt among its advocacies through Road Safety seminars and by including information about it in the flyers distributed for information dissemination campaigns. The LTO NCR East, for one, conducts seminars targeting not only drivers/adults but also adolescents with ages 14-18 years old. These youngsters can pass on the information and as future drivers will hopefully adhere to the law with the realization of the importance of seat belt devices.
Source: lto.gov.ph, pulitzercenter.org & philkotse.com