Bharat NCAP: The proposal for an India-specific norm for assessing vehicular safety in collision

Source: The post is based on the article “The proposal for an India-specific norm for assessing vehicular safety in collision” published in “The Hindu” on 8th July 2022.

What is the News?

Recently, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways approved a Draft GSR (general statutory rules) Notification to introduce the Bharat New Car Assessment Program (Bharat-NCAP).

What is the purpose of NCAP?

NCAPs will provide globally reliable information about the crash safety of a vehicle based on certain common criteria and procedures. They are separate from country-specific motor standards.

Global NCAP: It is a standardised platform establishing cooperation and coordination among NCAPs internationally.

Regional NCAPs: This takes into account specific local conditions. Due to separate manufacturing origins and quality, the car’s NCAP rating also varies from place to place.

What is Bharat New Car Assessment Program (Bharat-NCAP)?
Must read: Union Minister approves Draft GSR Notification to introduce Bharat NCAP (New Car Assessment Program)

Bharat NCAP would assign vehicles between one and five stars on parameters such as Adult Occupant Protection (AOP), Child Occupant Protection (COP) and Safety Assist Technologies (SAT).

Need: The existing regulations adhere to United Nations Regulation 94 for collision testing. However, the absence of domestic testing norms, and inadequate side protection in vehicles (such as airbags), has been often cited as reasons for the poor performance of Indian vehicles at NCAPs.

Implementation: If cleared, the NCAP would be applicable from April 1, 2023.

What is the process of Bharat NCAP?

Bharat NCAP would study the frontal impact, side-impact and the possibility of a door opening after a crash. The potential impact is studied with the help of dummies, of pre-specified measurements.

Adult protection: After the test collision, the dummy would be checked for injuries on the head, neck, chest, knee, pelvis area, lower leg, foot and ankle. There must not be any rib compression or injury to the knee joint.

Child protection: For assessing child protection, the NCAP would evaluate the impact to a child restraint system (CRS) and airbag safety.

The child must not be ejected from the CRS and his/her head must be contained within the shell of the CRS preventing any outside blow following a crash.

Note: CRS are portable seats designed to protect children during vehicle collisions.

Testing speed: The car is crashed into an aluminium deformable barrier impersonating an opposing force of the same magnitude — a crash-like situation, with a 40% overlap.

Bharat NCAP would conduct its frontal-offset crash testing at 64 kmph instead of the prevailing 56 kmph norm.

What is the benefit of Bharat NCAP for the domestic automobile industry?

The testing would emerge as a turning point in the domestic automotive sector in terms of product, technology and safety. Further, the rating would provide a platform that would test vehicular safety as per Indian conditions.

Consumers will face an increase in vehicle prices, but will also get safer vehicles.

The grading system should be made mandatory for all OEMs so that the choice is entirely left to the customer.

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