MANILA (Mabuhay) — A Central Luzon lawmaker is seeking a ban on the transport of children below 10 years old on a motorcycle along highways unless the minors are wearing a standard protective helmet as provided for under Republic Act 10054 otherwise known as “The Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009.”
Rep. Susan Yap (2nd District, Tarlac) sought the prohibition, saying that the physical frailty and lack of agility of children while co-riding in a motorcycle place them at greater risk.
“Riding a motorcycle, whether as a driver or rider, requires a balance of body weight of the bike especially in high speed driving or weaving in and out of traffic. Children passengers, however, are particularly more vulnerable. Government intervention is called for in order to protect the health and welfare of children by proposing to preclude the transporting of children on motorcycles and tricycles along highways,” said Yap, Chairperson of the House Committee on Reforestation.
Yap’s House Bill 397or the proposed “Motorcycle Safety for Children Act of 2013” provides it is the declared policy of the State to maintain at all times the safety and protection of the commuting public, especially children.
Towards this end, the State shall pursue a more protective and preventive approach to secure the safety of passengers, especially children, at all times by regulating the operation of motorcycles along roads and highways.
The measure provides it shall be unlawful for any person to transport a child below 10 years old on a motorcycle along roads and highways.
For children 10 years old and above, the measure provides they may only be transported aboard a motorcycle if: the child is wearing a standard protective helmet referred under Republic Act 10054; the child’s feet can comfortably reach the footsteps of the motorcycle; and the arms of the child can reach around and grasp the waist of the motorcycle driver. The bill refers to a motorcycle as any two-wheeled motor vehicle having one or two riding saddles.
The bill also provides that no motorcycle shall carry more than two passengers, including the driver, while operating on a road or highway except in remote areas where a child to be transported requires immediate medical treatment and in an emergency situation.
Violators shall be fined an amount not exceeding P3,000 for the first offense, P5,000 for the second offense and P10,000 for the third and succeeding offenses. The same penalty shall be imposed on the driver operating the motorcycle. For the second and third offenses, the erring driver’s license shall be suspended for one month. For third-time offenders, the driver’s license shall be revoked.
If the violation, however, resulted in death or injuries to the child or any other person, a penalty of one year imprisonment shall be imposed on the driver or operator of the motorcycle involved, in addition to the penalties provided under RA 3815 otherwise known as the “Revised Penal Code,” as amended, for the crime of reckless imprudence or negligence resulting in homicide or physical injuries of whatever nature.
To effectively implement the proposed Act, the bill provides the Land Transportation Office (LTO) shall be given the authority to deputize members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the local government units (LGUs) to carry out enforcement functions and duties. (MNS)