Airbags inflate and prevent a person’s head and chest from the hard elements of a vehicle in the case of accident.
Airbags inflate and prevent a person’s head and chest from the hard elements of a vehicle in the case of accident.

Dual front airbags made obligatory for passenger cars sold in India

As a part of the government’s plan to improve road safety in the country, carmakers will have to obey this law April 1 onwards and existing models to jump on to the bandwagon from August 31

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has made it compulsory for all new and existing passenger cars to come equipped with dual airbags (driver and passenger) as standard.

The Indian government had proposed to make dual front airbags as standard in December 2020 and had issued a draft notification to amend the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR). The ministry has now issued a notification, making it official for all cars sold in India to have dual front airbags.

The notification issued by MoRTH reads, "Notwithstanding anything contained in sub rule (9), vehicles manufactured on and after the 1st day of April 2021, in the case of new models, and 31st day of August, 2021, in the case of existing models, shall be fitted with airbag for the person occupying the front seat, other than the driver and the requirement for such airbag shall be as per AIS 145, as amended from time to time, till the corresponding Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) specification are notified under the Bureau of Indian Standards Act 2016 (11 of 2016)."

This mandate is the latest addition to the list of compulsory safety musts in cars which include ABS, rear parking sensors, front occupant seatbelt reminders and a high-speed alert system. This mandate also means that prices of existing cars are expected to gain a hike of Rs 5,000-8,000. The government is also planning to introduce safety systems like AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) and ESC (Electronic Stability Control) in all models to further improve road safety and prevent accidents.

The introduction of a passenger side airbag was crucial as a head-on-collision type accidents account for 21.6% of total accidents that take place on Indian roads every year. The passenger faces just as much danger as the driver and an airbag helps to decrease the fatality rate severely. Measures of this kind have been implemented internationally years ago and there's no doubt that India is late to the party. However, this move is welcome and we hope that the authorities bring more such measures to improve road safety in India to help reduce accidents.

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