December 5, 2022

The Land Transportation Office-Cordillera has reminded the public anew to observe the maximum load limit of vehicles, saying going beyond the capacity has been among the causes of accidents. 

LTO-Cordillera Director Francis Ray Almora said Republic Act 11229 mandates the use of child restraint system for children with a height of four feet and 11 inches, since a child is counted as one passenger. 

“We can see the consequences if we violate. Some count adults, but not the children, who are seated on guardians’ lap. As proven, that is a dangerous practice. Under the new law, it is not allowed,” he said.

Almora said the LTO has started implementing the child car seat law, although they are only warning violators and reminding them to observe the maximum load limit of vehicles when transporting children as a safety precaution. 

He said several road accidents have been recorded where overloading contributed to the inability of the driver to properly maneuver the engine. 

The most recent was the accident in Tabuk, Kalinga where 13 people died, seven of them children, riding in a sports utility vehicle that plunged in an irrigation canal.

“Comply with the law. If we intend to transport children aboard a motor vehicle then we should be guided by the child restraint law,” he added. 

Almora said overloading of a vehicle, similar to the Tabuk City incident, is not new. 

While not involving children, another incident in Apayao in 2018 also led to the death of 19 people when an elf truck with over 40 people and sacks of corn seeds fell into a ravine while traversing an uphill portion of the road. 

Almora assured despite the limited manpower resource, they conduct roadside inspection of vehicles to check on compliance with transportation laws. 

He said one of the mandates of LTO is the enforcement of land transportation laws and regulations and they are authorized to conduct roadside motor vehicle inspection. 

“During the inspection, we check on the registration. We check if the motor vehicle using public roads is registered and if registered, if it is driven by a person properly licensed,” he added. 

During the inspection, the LTO also determines the load of the vehicle. A violation has a corresponding fine. 

Almora reiterated the importance of safety, which should be the utmost consideration even before a vehicle’s engine is started. – PNA