President Arroyo has signed the Mandatory Helmet Act of 2010 that requires all motorcycle drivers and their passengers to wear helmets at all times and imposes stiff penalties on violators.
Republic Act 10054, authored by Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., is aimed at protecting motorcycle drivers, back-riders as well as pedestrians from injuries and death in accidents.
The law, however, exempts drivers of tricycles – a motorcycle with a side cab, which is a common mode of transport in the country – from wearing helmets.
“From narrow streets to major thoroughfares, motorcycles and scooters are a common sight every day and night. Wearing helmets will greatly reduce fatalities in road accidents and would also (foster) a sense of discipline in all motorcycle riders,” he said.
Revilla said it took a long while to see his measure enacted into law. There are an estimated 3.5 million motorcycles registered in the country.
“After more than two years of pushing this bill, our long wait is finally over,” Revilla said. “The passage of this measure will not be fulfilled if not for the support of our motorcyclists and the motorcycle manufacturers and dealers who are aware of the danger of not wearing a helmet.”
He said studies have show that good helmets and their proper use are estimated to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries and 67 percent effective in preventing brain damage to motorcycle drivers and their passengers.
Under the law, those who will be caught not wearing protective helmets face a minimum fine of P1,500 and a maximum penalty of P10,000.
The law requires the Department of Trade and Industry to conduct mandatory tests on all locally manufactured and imported motorcycle helmets in the country.
Manufacturers and importers of motorcycle helmets are also required to secure a Philippine Standard mark or an import commodity clearance before they can sell and distribute their products or pay a fine of P10,000 to P20,000 if they violate the provision.