From March 16, 2016, children under 12 must travel in the back of light vehicles and under eights must wear the correct child restraint systems. These are just some of the main changes to the Traffic Law passed by Congress. Fines have also been increased.
According to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Law 20,904 “improves on existing legislation” regarding the transport of minors in light vehicles and increases the fines for those drivers who do not place children in the rear seat or use the correct child restraint systems.
Under the previous law, under eights were not allowed to travel in the front seats of vehicles and children under the age of four were required to use a CRS. This has now been increased to 12 and eight years respectively. Weight and height limits have also been introduced (135 cm and 33 Kg).
According to Gabriela Rosende, the Executive Secretary of Conaset (from Chile's Ministry of Transportation and Communications), 1 in 3 deaths involving children aged 11 to 14 are caused by traffic accidents. In 2014 a total of 92 children aged 0 to 14 died in traffic accidents.
WHAT IS A LIGHT VEHICLE?
Current legislation states that light vehicles are those with a gross weight of under 2,700 kg, excluding vehicles with three wheels or less. Light vehicles include passenger vehicles (under 2,700 kg and designed to carry passengers) and light vans which weigh less) and commercial vehicles (light motorized vehicles with a gross weight of under 2,700 kg designed to transport cargo and the like).
- Children aged under 12 are not allowed to travel in the front of light vehicles. From March 16, 2016. Vehicles with only front seats are exempt.
- Children under the age of 8 must be correctly secured.
- Children under 1.35 metres and 33 kg must use a CRS (from March 2017). Taxis are exempt.
- Under the new law, failure to wear a suitable child restraint system is classified as a very serious offence and carries a fine of $66,000 to $132,000 and could see the driver banned for 5 to 45 days.
- Drivers carrying children under 12 in the front seat will also be fined this amount.