Automobile safety standards have improved over the last couple of years in India with the the government taking some good safety initiatives to make our roads safer. In July last year, the government mandated driver-side airbags along with a few other safety features across all four-wheelers retailed in the country. To take safety standards a step further, the government could soon be mandating passenger-side airbags to be standard across all vehicles sold in the country, according to a Times of India report.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways have issued a draft notification to make necessary amendments to the Automotive Industry Standard (AIS) concerned with safety features. The apex technical committee on vehicle standards has even approved this proposal. In a statement to TOI, a government official said,
"There is a consensus across the globe that vehicles should have maximum features to protect the occupants in case of a crash. We have also made it clear that there won't be any compromise on safety features irrespective of the cost."
The report also stated that the Transport Ministry is currently working on the timeline as to when these amendments could be implemented. The current norm mandates a driver-side airbag to be standard across all vehicles but a single-sided airbag leaves the co-passenger with inadequate safety. That usually leaves the co-passenger exposed to serious injury, or even death, in case of a serious mishap. It could take about a year for the new norms to be adopted across the board.
A few low-cost inclusions such as speed alert, reverse parking sensors and seat-belt reminder already comes as standard fitment in cars. However, dual-front airbags are a very crucial safety feature that have not been mandated on the cars so far. Several manufacturers thus skip passenger-side airbags on base-spec trims of their entry-level models. Mandating this feature, even though it adds up the cost, will go a long way in improving the safety standards of our cars.
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[News Source - TOI]