To avoid fatal mishaps on roads, the government is trying everything possible in its power to decrease road accidents. After making rear seatbelts mandatory, the government now plans to make 6 airbags mandatory in 8-seater vehicles. Union Minister for road, transport, and highways, Nitin Gadkari recently mentioned that 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. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) stated 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 airbags, one each for the persons occupying front row outboard seating positions, and two side curtain/tube airbags, 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 a minimum of six airbags mandatory in vehicles carrying up to eight passengers from October this year. An airbag is a vehicle occupant-restraint system that 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 percent of deaths and injuries were caused due to the non-usage of seat belts.
Last year, Gadkari in an interview 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.
(With inputs from PTI)