Source: The post is based on the article “On The Right Road – Airbags for rear passengers are best achieved via competitive pressure put on carmakers by customers” published in The Times of India on 15th September 2023.
Syllabus: GS 2 – Governance – Government Policies & Intervention
Relevance: About government’s decision to postpone its plan to make six airbags mandatory in vehicles.
News: Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari announced that the Indian government has postponed its plan to make six airbags mandatory in vehicles carrying up to eight passengers from October 1.
This decision was made due to a lack of unanimous industry support. However, frontal airbags have been compulsory for new vehicles since 2021.
Why is car safety important?
Vehicle safety is crucial due to global statistics indicating that road accidents are the top cause of death for those aged 15-49. In India, this is a grave concern, with 154,000 fatalities in 2021, averaging 18 deaths per hour.
Further, in India, highways comprise just 5% of road length but are responsible for 51% of fatalities due to impact momentum.
Data from the US supports the use of frontal and side airbags, saving 34% and 31% of lives, respectively.
However, while the government hasn’t mandated side airbags, it has still taken a wise decision by empowering customers to demand enhanced safety features from auto manufacturers.
In this regard, the government has recently come up with the Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), a collaborative tool designed to help Indian car buyers evaluate safety standards.