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Govt To Make Front Passenger Airbag Mandatory For All Cars Sold In India

Front passenger airbag mandatory India
Image for reference – Via Rushlane Crashlane

The leading technical committee on vehicle standards has submitted a proposal to the Government of India to make front passenger seat airbag mandatory

Even as there are stringent safety norms in place in view of the COVID-10 pandemic, the issue of in-car safety features in India has been neglected. If statistics are to be compared, road accidents have taken more lives than the pandemic in the country. The need of the hour is to make cars safer and hence new safety norms are being made mandatory.

All cars could soon get front passenger side airbag as a mandatory safety feature. An apex body has sent off its proposal to the Government of India and the draft notification to amend automotive industry standards (AIS) has also been issued.

Airbag As Mandatory Feature

Though driver side airbag was made a mandatory requirement for all cars from 1st July 2019, the passenger in the front seat was left exposed to danger of injury or death as they were not protected by airbag on impact. Most cars receive safety equipment such as reverse parking sensors, speed alert and seat belt reminders as standard but a life saving feature of airbag has not yet been addressed.

It is a widely accepted fact that airbags can greatly reduce injury in the event of a collision. Along with more stringent crash structures needed to comply with new crash test norms, mandatory fitment of front passenger airbag could bring down injuries to a great extent. When driver airbag was made compulsory in July 2019, it is surprising why this safety feature for the front seat passenger was not introduced alongside as well.

Suzuki South Africa S-presso safety
Suzuki South Africa Assuring S-Presso is safer there, as compared to India

Timeline for the New Norm

This new safety feature is being assessed on a war footing and the Road Transport Ministry is working on a timeline from when this new feature could be made mandatory. A year’s time is what could be offered for all automakers to introduce this safety equipment in all cars.

An amendment has also been proposed on the issue of child lock system. This should not be permitted for all four wheelers used for commercial transport purposes. Vehicles with child lock with allows doors to be opened only from the outside has been misused to endanger the safety of women passengers.

Cars in India with 6 or more airbags

While earlier 6 airbags were only restricted only to the luxury segment, today a large number of hatchbacks, sedans and SUVs receive 6 airbags as standard. In the hatchback segment, it is the Ford Figo and Hyundai i20 that receive 6 airbags.

The EcoSport, XUV300, Creta, Sonet, Seltos and Venue are those in the crossover/SUV segment and the Aspire, City, Verna and Yaris are in the sedan segment that come in with 6 airbags as a safety feature. Recent offerings such as the Hector, Harrier, Innova Crysta and XUV500 are also presented with 6 airbags as a safety feature.

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