India to make 6 airbags mandatory in cars from October 2022
Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, has declared that all new cars sold in India will come with 6 standard airbags from October 1, 2022.
In January, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways authorised a draught notification requiring 6 airbags in cars with an eight-person passenger capacity.
Until recently, India’s car safety regulations were not the finest. Numerous safety measures, including a driver-side airbag, were obligatory on April 1, 2019. From January 1, 2022, passenger airbags became mandatory.
The government believes that increasing the number of airbags in automobiles will make them safer. While that may be true, the additional airbags are anticipated to add at least Rs 50,000 to the cost of cars.
Additionally, vehicles that do not include side and curtain airbags in any configuration will require modifications to the body shell, as well as interior trim and fittings, to ensure that the airbags deploy safely and effectively. This would result in a rise in the price of automobiles.
Also, it should be emphasised that the upcoming stricter rules associated with the second phase of CAFE and BS6 emission standards in 2022-2023 would further increase the price of cars.
At the moment, several automakers, such as Renault-Nissan, do not offer 6 airbags on any of their vehicles. Meanwhile, other manufacturers include 6 airbags only in models and variants that cost more than Rs 10 lakh.
Interestingly, the Kia Carens is a significant outlier in the sub Rs 10 lakh category, as it comes standard with six airbags.
So, while the move is unlikely to excite the auto industry, it could be a significant advancement for accident safety. Crash test findings clearly demonstrate how additional airbags assist reduce fatal and serious injuries.
The approach may help automakers gain higher Global NCAP ratings in countries where side-impact tests are required as part of the organization’s #SaferCarsForIndia initiative.
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