The government is trying to make it mandatory for carmakers to provide at least six airbags in eight-seater vehicles for enhanced safety of occupants from October, road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) in a statement said that in order to enhance the safety of occupants of the motor vehicle against lateral impact, it has been decided to enhance safety features by amending the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR), 1989.
”A draft notification has been issued on January 14, 2022, which mandates that vehicles of category M1, manufactured after October 1, 2022, shall be fitted with two side/side torso air bags, one each for the persons occupying front row outboard seating positions, and two side curtain/tube air bags, one each for the persons occupying outboard seating positions,” it had said.
”Koshish toh hai (we are trying),” he said when asked whether the government will make minimum six airbags mandatory in vehicles carrying up to eight passengers from October this year.
An airbag is a vehicle occupant-restraint system which interferes between the driver and the vehicle’s dashboard during a collision, thereby preventing serious injuries.
According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, over 1.55 lakh lives were lost in road crashes across India in 2021 — an average of 426 daily or 18 every single hour — which is the highest death figures recorded in any calendar year so far.
According to the report titled ‘Road accidents in India — 2020’, more than 11 per cent of deaths and injuries were caused due to non-usage of seat belts.
Last year, Gadkari in an interview to PTI had said small cars, mostly purchased by lower middle-class people, should also have an adequate number of airbags and had wondered why automakers are providing eight airbags only in big cars bought by rich people.
His remarks had come against the backdrop of the automobile industry raising concerns that high taxation and stricter safety and emission norms for vehicles have made their products expensive.
Mostly, lower middle-class people buy small economy cars and ”if their car won’t have airbags and when accidents happen, then it may result in deaths. So, I appeal to all car manufacturers to provide a minimum of six airbags across all variants and segments of the vehicle,” he had said.