This means motorcycle drivers and passengers have to wear crash helmets that follow government safety and quality standards.
“Starting January, one will have to buy the prescribed helmet from retailers,”said Asteria Caberte, regional director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in a briefing yesterday.
By 2013, the agency will go after retailers selling non-prescribed crash helmets, she said.
Despite the clamor from various motorcycle groups to ditch Republic Act 10054 or the Helmet Law, the DTI and Land Transportation Office said the law, whose strict implementation was put off for several months, will finally be enforced.
LTO Regional Director Raul Aguillos said the law was already signed by President Benigno Aquino III.
DTI will only be issuing accreditation stickers to individual motorcycle riders for their old helmets until today.
The sanction for tampering or using fake stickers is P10,000 for motorists and a higher amount of P20,000 for store owners according to Caberte.
Aguillos said the law was not created to favor any helmet trader or brand but to protect the motorcycle riders.
“Based on statistics, 80 percent of road accidents involves motorcycles, and these are mostly fatal.
“That is why we really see the need to protect riders. This law will help us do that,” said Aguillos.
At present, 83 helmet brands have passed DTI standards.
Engr. Dario Cabarrubias said DTI looks for “minimum protection features of helmets”. The helmets should at least cover the ears and have intact protective pads and complete retention systems.
“If the helmet lacks these features, even if the brand is in the list, we usually don’t accept it,” said Cabarrubias.
First offenders pay a fine of P1,500, then P3,000 for the second offense and P5,000 for the third offense. For succeeding violations, the penalty is P10,000 and confiscation of one’s driver’s licence.
The law was supposed to be implemented last August but heated objections from the riding public forced the government to give more time for riders to secure helmet stickers and to conduct an information drive. /Aileen Garcia-Yap, Reporter